George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health researchers have been on the ground in Puerto Rico to determine a more precise count of the number of people who died as a result of the hurricane. One goal of the excess mortality study, announced earlier this year, is to develop a model that accounts for these deaths that researchers can apply to future natural disasters.
A study released last week by researchers from Harvard had lots of important things to say about life and death in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In the weeks and months after the storm, hospitals were overwhelmed, pharmacies were low on drugs, and households went without clean water and electricity. The devastation of the island’s health care infrastructure likely led to hundreds of deaths.
Widely different estimates of Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico have led to confusion. Here is our guide to the death tallies, what accounts for their differences and how a new study aims to provide a more definitive account.
On Friday, Puerto Rico’s health department released updated figures breaking down overall deaths on the island by cause in the months after the hurricane.
Few academic studies have received as much media coverage as a new report, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, that the death toll in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria was much higher than official estimates of 64. Most of the articles on the study funded by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health focused on one particular number: 4,645 “excess deaths” from Sept. 20 through Dec. 31, 2017.
A team of George Washington University researchers will lead an independent investigation into Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico and will examine the methods local government officials used to count hurricane-related fatalities in the aftermath of the September storm, officials here said Thursday.