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California dangerous

‘Rare, dangerous’ heat wave to hit California, U.S. West – Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Californians sought relief on Friday from the first day of a punishing heat wave expected to last through the Labor Day weekend, bringing temperatures of up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) and raising the risk of wildfires and rolling blackouts.

An empty beach is seen on the first day of a record heat wave, amid the global outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hermosa Beach, near Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, a proclamation that allows power plants to operate beyond normal limits throughout the three-day holiday weekend.

“The heat is on again! Please do your part to #ConserveEnergy to avoid power outages over #LaborDayWeekend. Some state beaches are closed or have modified operations due to wildfires & COVID-19,” California State Parks said on Twitter.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast a heat wave carrying “rare, dangerous and very possibly fatal” temperatures across Southern California for the holiday weekend.

“There is a high risk for heat illness along with heightened fire weather concerns,” the NWS Los Angeles office reported, forecasting record high temperatures on Saturday and Sunday.

State officials urged Californians to turn off unnecessary appliances and lights to help avoid blackouts from an overwhelmed power grid.

Authorities also asked power generators to delay any maintenance until after the weekend to prevent blackouts like the two nights of rolling outages in mid-August as residents cranked up their air conditioning.

This weekend was expected to be hotter than one in mid-August that helped trigger the second and third largest forest fires in California history. Those fires are still burning.

Death Valley in California’s Mojave desert registered one of the hottest air temperatures recorded on the planet of 130F on Aug. 17, and highs of around 124 were expected there on Sunday, the NWS said.

Record or excessive heat was also predicted for Nevada and western Arizona with “brutal” temperatures set to peak on Sunday and continue into Monday, the weather service said.

The NWS reported on Friday that Phoenix hit a new high for this date, registering 114 degrees at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The old record was 112 degrees set in 1945.

Red flag warnings were issued for large swaths of the state, indicating a high fire danger.

Climate scientists blame human activities for a rise in average temperatures in California since the early 20th Century and say extreme wet-dry cycles are creating parched vegetation to supercharge wildfires.

Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Tom Brown

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dangerous Florida

Rare and dangerous MIS-C appearing again in Florida children’s hospitals – South Florida Sun Sentinel

South Florida’s children’s hospitals are seeing more cases of a rare COVID-related illness that attacks children and teens.

Ronald Ford, chief medical officer for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said his hospital has treated 18 children with the rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome — seven of them since Aug. 1.

Ford says he saw the increase coming when the state’s positive infection rate rose — and he expects more cases in the next few weeks. The syndrome tends to come on fast and attack children who were exposed to COVID-19 three to four weeks earlier.

“Some arrive in shock-like states,” Ford said.

The most pervasive symptoms are persistent fever and abdominal pain, shortness of breath, vomiting and sometimes a rash or pink eye. All 18 of the children with MIS-C at Joe DiMaggio had antibodies for COVID-19, indicating an earlier rather than current infection.

“Over the last several days we are seeing children with MIS-C coming more regularly and staying in hospital longer, and they are also quite sick,” Ford said. “They are requiring ICU level of care.”

Ford said he and his colleagues at South Florida’s children’s hospitals had been anticipating the burst of new cases.

“What will drive MIS-C is the number of positive children in the state. That’s why we predicted this,” he said. “We saw the rise in new infections in July. It’s still rare, but the sheer numbers of children infected has gone up.”

The illness, in which multiple body parts — the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, gastrointestinal tract, skin or eyes — can become inflamed, has cropped up in children and young adults under the age of 21.

Along with MIS-C, Ford said Joe DiMaggio also has been treating more children sick with the new coronavirus. While the vast majority of children with COVID-19 have a mild or asymptomatic infection, Ford said Joe DiMaggio has treated some who have pneumonia-like symptoms.

The differentiation tends to be how quickly MIS-C comes on and the intense symptoms such as persistent fever.

“While we have learned how to treat MIS-C, there is still a lot to be learned,” Ford said.

Dr. Keith Meyer, pediatric specialist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said his hospital is seeing a similar number of children with MIS-C. However, children have been steadily coming into the Miami hospital with the illness since July.

“All the children we have treated have gotten better,” he said. “Most are in and out within a couple of days.”

Meyer urges parents to stay vigilant in monitoring for symptoms. “This should be on their radar if their children appear sick.”

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On Thursday, Florida’s Department of Health dashboard reported 43,828 children are infected with COVID-19 statewide — a large increase from earlier in the summer. In mid-June only 3,407 children had tested positive.

The dashboard also shows 30 children with MIS-C in Florida, a number that appears outdated, with nearly 30 cases in two South Florida hospitals.

“I would like to see real-time data coming out from the Department of Health,” Ford said.

Ford said it is important for parents, pediatricians and doctors at urgent care centers to recognize the signs of MIS-C and get young people evaluated at a children’s hospital.

As of Aug. 6, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed 570 cases of MIS-C across 40 states and the District of Columbia, including 10 deaths. While the syndrome affects young adults, too, the average child with the illness is 8 years old.

Connect with health reporter Cindy Krischer Goodman at cgoodman@sunsentinel.com or 954-304-5908.

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