The World Health Organization estimates that 250,000 people die each year due to climate change, and it hits the most vulnerable communities hardest. In response to a White House executive order, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity.
- Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health at HHS, said climate change can cause heat stress, worsening of heart and lung disease, mold and bacterial illness exposure, mental health problems and an increase in vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease, among other negative health effects.
- Levine said things like climate change and Covid-19 impact vulnerable communities far more than others.
- The new office will correlate climate change impacts with communities affected by health disparities and will work to put resources towards establishing health equity.