In Japan, in response to the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a ‘new normal’ in the era of the COVID-19 was proposed by the government, which calls for thorough wearing of masks as an infection control measure in the era of the COVID-19, but related heat illness has been a great concern this summer. We applied quasi-Poisson regression models to the daily number of emergency transportations due to heat illness from 2008 to 2020 from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan, to estimate the expected weekly number of emergency transportations from heat illness, with adjustment for their long-term trend and the weather conditions, including temperatures. We found that, at the national level, the number of heat illness emergency transports did not significantly increase or decrease from the annual trend in 2020. By prefecture, on the other hand, there were some prefectures in which the number of heat illness emergency transports was less than the average year, and most of them were in the week of August 10–16. By age group, the number of heat illness emergency transports in the 0–17 and 18–64 age groups was particularly low in some prefectures, and by severity, those in mild cases was particularly low. A caution is necessary that there is a possibility that a decrease in cases possibly associated with COVID-19 measures, such as, outdoor activity restrictions at schools/universities and cancellation of public events, may offset the possible increase in heat illness cases occurring elsewhere associated with wearing masks. Given that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is not expected yet, continuous and appropriate awareness-raising activities to prevent heat-related illness remain important.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal