Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on heatstroke-related ambulance dispatch in the 47 prefectures of Japan
In 2020, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought a huge impact in daily life and has prompted people to take preventive measures. In the summertime, however, the Japanese government has cautioned that some COVID-19 pandemic conditions may affect the risk to heatstroke. This study investigated how the COVID-19 pandemic setting affected heatstroke-related ambulance dispatches (HSAD). Daily HSAD data and relevant weather parameters from June to September from 2016 to 2020 of 47 prefectures in Japan were obtained from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) database. A binary variable representing COVID-19 impact was created, whereby years 2016 to 2019 were coded as 0, while 2020 as 1. We employed a two-stage analysis in elucidating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on HSAD. Firstly, we regressed HSAD with the COVID-19 binary variable after adjusting for relevant covariates to obtain prefecture-specific effect estimates. Prefecture-specific estimates were subsequently pooled via random effects meta-analysis in generating the pooled estimate. Pooled Relative Risk (RR) of HSAD during the COVID-19 pandemic was 0.78 (95% Confidential Interval [CI], 0.75–0.82). We found an overall statistically significant decrease in HSAD risk during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. Specifically, the decrease in the risk of HSAD may be linked to the COVID-19 precautionary measures such as stay-home request and availability of alternative consultation services, which may have decreased the direct exposure of the population to extreme heat.
identifier:Science of the Total Environment, 768, art.no.145176; 2021
- Science of The Total Environment
Science of The Total Environment 768 145176-, 2021-02-02