Hurricane Maria’s death toll could exceed 4,0, study estimates

A man surveys a house of which was washed away by heavy surf during the passing of Hurricane Maria in Manati, Puerto Rico on October 6, 2017.

Ricardo Arduengo | AFP | Getty Images

A man surveys a house of which was washed away by heavy surf during the passing of Hurricane Maria in Manati, Puerto Rico on October 6, 2017.

The official death count coming from Hurricane Maria is actually 64. The real number could exceed more than 4,0, mostly due to delayed or interrupted medical care, according to a brand-new study.

Media reports have suggested the official count is actually far lower than what has actually occurred inside wake of the powerful storm of which struck Puerto Rico in September. The storm left many stranded without electricity in addition to unable to access health care.

A group of independent researchers coming from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in addition to some other institutions surveyed more than 3,000 households in Puerto Rico in an attempt to overcome challenges of relying on death certificates to measure the total.

Of the households they visited, 38 people died between Sept. 20, when Hurricane Maria struck, in addition to the end of the year, according to the study, published Tuesday inside brand-new England Journal of Medicine. Of these deaths, one-third were attributed to delayed or interrupted health care.

The researchers used these measures to calculate the mortality rate in addition to apply This specific to the larger population to reach their estimate. While their estimate is actually substantially higher than the official tally, researchers said This specific’s still likely to be conservative.

When adjusting for survivor bias in addition to household-size distributions, the estimate increases to more than 5,000, they said.

The findings are likely to ramp up criticism of preparations in addition to responses to natural disasters. Researchers said health-care disruption is actually at This specific point a growing contributor to both morbidity in addition to mortality during these events.

About 14 percent of households surveyed said they weren’t able to access medications, while nearly 10 percent said they needed respiratory equipment of which required electricity. some other problems included closed medical facilities in addition to absent doctors.

Meanwhile, the official death count could change. Facing pressure, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello ordered a review in December.

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