NYC health department claims ‘structural racism’ increases ‘risk of heat stress’ as temps rise

As temperatures in New York City hit the 100-degree mark on Thursday and hovered in the high-90s on Friday, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a heat advisory in which residents were warned about the dangers of structural racism.

In its 17th health alert of 2022, the agency stated, “Extreme heat is the deadliest type of extreme weather. It can cause hyperthermia and worsen existing medical conditions and mental health problems. Structural racism and the resulting social and economic inequities increase the risk of heat stress for Black New Yorkers, who are twice as likely to die from heat as White New Yorkers.”

Apparently, white people have a disproportionate amount of air conditioning.

“Most people who die of heat stroke in New York City did not have or use air conditioners and were overcome by heat in their homes,” the Health Department explains. “Fans do not provide sufficient cooling during extreme heat. Air conditioning (AC) is the most effective protection.”

The alert went on to designate those who are most at risk of heat-related death as people who “do not have or use AC” and have one or more of the following factors: chronic health conditions; mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia; cognitive difficulty, dementia, or difficulty thermoregulating; are prescribed diuretics, anticholinergics, psychotropics, or medications that affect thermoregulation; have substance abuse issues;  are socially isolated or live with limited mobility. The department notes that those over the age of 60 are more likely to have one or more of those factors.

No further explanation for the divisive “black vs white” rhetoric was given.

The popular Libs of TikTok account posted the alert, which the Health Department wants to be circulated to “all clinical staff in primary care, family medicine, geriatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, pharmacy, and emergency medicine,” on Twitter, and the responses were… well… heated.

Many users pointed to those who have historically fared just fine in the heat without the benefit of air conditioning.

“I lived in Jamaica in the late 90s. Lived with mostly black Jamaicans,” one user tweeted. “Guess what? We all lived.”

“‘Cause Africa is never hot,” another retorted. “It’s sick out there and getting sicker.”

And as a third user noted, “1931 was when teh first room ac was used in homes.”

“I wonder what we all did before that,” he mused.

Others took issue with woke, progressive “experts.”

And still more Twitter users questioned the mental health of the Health Department.

But at the end of the day, nearly all who responded to the NYC alert were taken by the department’s racist assumptions.

“They fully believe because they are white and grew up with money that every white person has,” wrote one user. “Grew up with no AC at all, which is why I keep mine on 68 now.”

“[I don’t care] how hard I have to work,” he stated, “I’m not being hot.”

Melissa Fine


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