Special Webinar on Extreme Heat and COVID19

May 20, 2020

To view the recorded webinar, please click here.

Most cities and states in the U.S. Northeast region have adopted a set of programs to enhance community resilience to extreme heat events, often involving the opening of cooling centers or promoting the use of shared cooler spaces, as well as increased access to private air conditioning. With the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for continued physical distancing, some of these strategies, especially those that encourage individuals to occupy closed spaces, might in fact put people at increased risk of infection.  Clearly, there needs to be a discussion on which existing strategies for mitigating the adverse health effects of extreme heat are still appropriate within the context of COVID-19and what new strategies currently not being used could be implemented. 

In response, the NOAA-funded RISA project, the Consortium for Climate Risk in the Urban Northeast (CCRUN) along with its NOAA partners co-hosted a webinar and discussion titled Planning for Extreme Heat Events in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Panelists presented on the latest science of extreme heat exposure, potential summer 2020 heat conditions, and possible strategies for how to address summertime extreme heat if cooling centers or other public sites remain closed during that time. Discussions included proposals that could be implemented by this summer. Social and environmental equity considerations were also introduced into the discussion.


Dr. Radley Horton, Columbia University

Dr. Gregory Wellenius, Boston University

Dr. Perry Sheffield, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Franco Montalto, Drexel University

Mr. Oliver Sellers-Garcia, City of Somerville, Massachusetts