Coronavirus Makes Cooling Centers Risky, Just as Scorching Weather Hits

“Officials are scrambling to find ways to protect residents against dueling threats of extreme heat and the coronavirus.”

“WASHINGTON — Temperatures in Phoenix are expected to hit 105 this week. Sacramento has already broken heat records recently, as have Galveston, Texas, Salt Lake City and Fort Myers, Fla.

But the usual strategy that cities rely upon to protect the most vulnerable from the heat — encouraging people to gather and cool down in public buildings like libraries or recreation centers — doesn’t work in an era of the coronavirus and social distancing. So cities across the country are rushing to test other ideas.

In Phoenix, officials plan to start renting hotel rooms to help homeless people stay out of the heat. New York City is looking to help residents pay their electricity bills, in order to make air-conditioning more affordable.”

Christopher Flavelle reports for the New York Times May 6, 2020.