Heat played role in 645 deaths in Arizona’s largest county last year

At least 645 people died from heat-related illnesses in Arizona’s largest county last year, a preliminary report from its Public Health Department found Wednesday. 

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, said it saw a record-setting heat wave in July 2023 that caused a 52% increase in heat-related deaths from the previous year. Every day of July reported temperatures of 110 degrees and above, according to the report.

The data highlight the severe risk that hot weather poses to large portions of the population, including homeless people and people who struggle with substance abuse.

FILE – A jet takes flight from Sky Harbor International Airport as the sun sets over Phoenix, July 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

“This tragic number shows us how much work we still have to do,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, the medical director for
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