Hurricane Maria Killed 4,645 in Puerto Rico, 70 Times Official Toll

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And I’m Juan González. Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world. We begin today’s show in Puerto Rico. A stunning new report by researchers at Harvard has revealed the death toll from Hurricane Maria may be 70 times higher than the official count. The official death toll still stands at 64, but the new research says the death toll is at least 4,645, and perhaps as many as 5,740. The Harvard study was published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump has so far not responded to the new study. But in October, during a visit to Puerto Rico, Trump boasted about the low official death count.

PRES. TRUMP: Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you have thrown our budget a little out of whack, because we have spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that’s fine. We’ve saved a lot of lives. If you look at the — every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous — hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overbearing, nobody has seen anything like this. And what is your death count as of this moment? Seventeen?

GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLÓ: Sixteen certified.

PRES. TRUMP: Sixteen people certified. Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people — all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: With a death toll of at least 4,645, Hurricane Maria would become the second deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, behind only the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed as many as 12,000 people in Texas. The Harvard study surveyed almost 3,300 randomly selected Puerto Rican households and found mortality rates leaped 62 percent from September 20th…

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