Last year’s record-breaking power outages are a red flag for public health 


Hundreds of deaths were linked to blackouts during the Texas freeze.

As power outages worsen across the country, experts are sounding the alarm about the potentially catastrophic impacts on human health.

Last week, the Energy Information Administration reported that the average person in the US spent over eight hours without power in 2020 — the worst year for outages in records going back to 2013. Some of those outages were deadly: dozens of people died in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which knocked out power just before a heat wave, while hundreds of people were killed in Texas during a blackout triggered by a deep freeze. But there are also more subtle ways electricity intersects with health, like if people with underlying health conditions are put in stressful, too-hot environments that…

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