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November 3, 2021 19 min

Every year, people in the American West die from scorching temperatures. Experts fear that the number of deaths is undercounted — and, that as the climate continues to heats up, the death rate is going to rise.

Officially, California says 599 people died due to heat exposure from 2010 to 2019. But a Los Angeles Times investigation estimates the number is way higher: about 3,900 deaths.

Today we talk to Tony Barboza and Anna M. Phillips, who, along with Sean Greene and Ruben Vives, spearheaded the L.A. Times investigation. We discuss why their count is so different from the state's, who's most vulnerable to the heat and how to protect yourself. 

More reading:

Heat waves are far deadlier than we think. How California neglects this climate threat

Climate change is supercharging California heat waves, and the state isn’t ready

Poor neighborhoods bear the brunt of extreme heat, ‘legacies of racist decision-making’

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