NPR, May 29, 2018
Richard Harris

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Perhaps 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico in 2017 for reasons related to September's Hurricane Maria, according to a study that dismisses the official death toll of 64 as "a substantial underestimate."

A research team led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health didn't simply attempt to count dead bodies in the wake of the powerful storm. Instead, they surveyed randomly chosen households and asked the occupants about their experiences.

From that approach, they concluded that between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, 2017, there were 4,645 "excess deaths" — that is, deaths that would not have occurred if the island hadn't been plunged into a prolonged disaster following the devastating storm. [...]

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