Skip to content
Search AI Powered

Latest Stories

A New Study Found That Hurricane Maria Caused 2,975 Deaths in Puerto Rico, Not 64, and Puerto Rico's Governor Just Responded

A New Study Found That Hurricane Maria Caused 2,975 Deaths in Puerto Rico, Not 64, and Puerto Rico's Governor Just Responded
WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCTOBER 19: (AFP-OUT) President Donald Trump speaks with Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House on October 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump and Rossello spoke about the continuing recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Devastating.

Nearly 3,000 people perished when Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico in 2017, according to a new study from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Governor Ricardo Rossello (D-PR) upgraded the official death toll from 64 to 2,975 on Tuesday, making Maria the second-deadliest hurricane in American history.


Maria slammed into the island territory as a category 4 storm, packing 154 mile-per-hour winds and causing more than $100 billion worth of damage as it ravaged homes and devastated local infrastructure.

"Even though it is an estimate, we are officially changing, or we are putting an official number to the death toll," Gov. Ricardo Rossello told reporters Tuesday. "We will take the 2,975 number as the official estimate for the excess deaths as a product of Maria."

Carlos Mercader, executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, submitted a report on the study, which was conducted at the behest of the Puerto Rican government, to CBS News on Tuesday.

"The reality is that we take this very seriously," Mercader said on CBSN. "We mourn those people that died because of this storm and we have a responsibility of making sure that we prepare Puerto Rico for a future event like this."

"2,975 — it's 2,975 people who suffered," Mercader added.

Through statistics obtained from the Vital Statistics Records division of the Puerto Rico Department of Health, "the study looked at historical death patterns from 2010 to 2017 to estimate how many people would have died had Hurricane Maria not hit the island," CBS reported.

"That figure was then compared to the actual number of deaths from September 2017 through February 2018," CBS wrote, "to determine what the report describes as the 'estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane.'"

Poor populations were especially susceptible to hurricane-related fatalities, the report stated. It said that the risk of death was "45% higher and persistent until the end of the study period for populations living in low socioeconomic development municipalities."

The study concluded that males over the age of 65 had an elevated risk of death through February 2018, when the study ended.

"Overall, we estimate that 40% of municipalities experienced significantly higher mortality in the study period than in the comparable period of the previous two years," the report says.

Additionally, the study was able to determine why the initial death toll from the government was so low. A lack of preparedness for the storm, and physicians ill-equipped to record causes of death, both contributed to the substantial statistical discrepancy.

"The official government estimate of 64 deaths from the hurricane is low primarily because the conventions used for causal attribution only allowed for classification of deaths attributable directly to the storm, e.g., those caused by structural collapse, flying debris, floods, and drownings," the report says. "During our broader study, we found that many physicians were not oriented in the appropriate certification protocol. This translated into an inadequate indicator for monitoring mortality in the hurricane's aftermath."

The report noted that "physician unawareness of appropriate death certification practices after a natural disaster and the Government of Puerto Rico's lack of communication about death certificate reporting prior to the 2017 hurricane season substantially limited the count of deaths related to Maria."

More from News

Matthew Perry in '90210'; Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry in '90210'
Fox

Poignant '90210' Scene Featuring Matthew Perry, Shannen Doherty And Luke Perry Resurfaces

A clip of Matthew Perry, Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry alongside Jason Priestley in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 has resurfaced following Doherty's death on Saturday, and it's hitting fans hard.

The poignant scene from the series' first season was recently shared on Threads and quickly made its way across other platforms.

Keep ReadingShow less
Terrell Davis
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

United Airlines Apologizes After NFL Hall Of Famer Is Handcuffed In Front Of His Family On Flight

United Airlines issued an apology after NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Davis was handcuffed in front of his family and other passengers for tapping a flight attendant on the arm during a flight.

The former Denver Broncos running back (1995-2002) took to Instagram earlier this week to address the "traumatizing events" that transpired while he was traveling with his wife and three children.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot of Matt Gaetz being confronted by an RNC delegate
@KaladinFree/X

RNC Attendee Confronts 'A**hole' Gaetz For Going After McCarthy In Hilariously Brutal Takedown

Far-right Florida Representative Matt Gaetz was brilliantly shut down by a delegate attending the 2024 Republican National Convention in Milwaukee after Gaetz was seen taunting former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Gaetz, who led the charge to oust McCarthy from the speakership in October 2023, noticed him being interviewed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the convention and went over to rag on his political nemesis.

Keep ReadingShow less
Screenshot of Brenna Bird
C-SPAN

Iowa AG Dragged For Ironically Boasting At RNC That Republicans Put Criminals 'In Jail'

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird was criticized after telling the audience at the Republican National Convention that the GOP is known to "put criminals where they belong: in jail"—only to then encourage everyone to vote for convicted felon former President Donald Trump.

In May, Trump became the first former president to be convicted of felony crimes. The jury found him guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to illegally influence the 2016 election. His sentencing was set for July 11 but has now been delayed in the wake of a Supreme Court decision granting him sweeping immunity protections.

Keep ReadingShow less
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Vivek Ramaswamy
Steven Ferdman/GC Images; Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu via Getty Images

AOC Gives Vivek Ramaswamy Brutal Tip On How To Be 'Cool' After His RNC Challenge To Gen Z

Biotech entrepreneur and former GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy was given a lesson by New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about "being cool" after he made an appeal to Generation Z during the Republican National Convention, telling them they can be "rebels" if they call themselves "conservative" on college campuses.

Speaking from the podium at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ramaswamy issued the following remarks designed to court the youth:

Keep ReadingShow less