On Aug. 28, 2018, researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) published a final report to estimate the excess deaths in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. Notable press coverage includes articles written by The New York Times, The Guardian, Agence France Presse (AFP), The Washington Post, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. Major TV coverage includes CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, NBC’s Today Show, CBS This Morning, National Public Radio and BBC World News. In Puerto Rico, local outlets El Nuevo Dia, Primera Hora and El Vocero wrote articles about the report.
Lynn R. Goldman, Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Milken Institute SPH, authored an op-ed titled “We calculated the deaths from Hurricane Maria. Politics played no role" for the Washington Post.
Impact: On Aug. 28, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement about the study and the estimate that 2,975 people lost their lives in the storm: “Because FEMA and the Federal government were simply unprepared, thousands of our fellow American citizens have perished—and we now know that the poor and elderly were most at risk.”
On Aug. 29, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced a series of initiatives aimed at preventing another crisis from happening again, including the creation of the September 20th Commission that would enforce the recommendations included in the GW report.
Twenty-four lawmakers sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services citing the GW study and revised death toll in a move to increase aid to families of people who died during Hurricane Maria.
On Nov. 29, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing to look at the federal response to Hurricane Maria. Dean Goldman testified at the hearing.