New Figures Now Reveal More Than 5,000 Were Killed When Maria Hit Puerto Rico

Were the Numbers Deliberately Under-Reported?

As we debate whether the numbers of people who were killed when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September, 2017 were deliberately under-reported or just badly counted, there’s one thing Trump knew. It was nothing compared to a “real catastrophe like Katrina.”

Even as Trump made that insulting comment the following month, average Puerto Ricans were certain that many more than the 16 people he touted had been lost.

A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine estimates the actual death toll to be closer to 5,000. Even worse, “one third of the deaths were attributed to delayed or interrupted health care.”

Hurricane Katrina, which hit South Florida and Louisiana in August, 2005, resulted in 1,833 fatalities.

Trump made no secret he considered money spent in Puerto Rico to be both unnecessary (since he believed it to be full of non-citizens) and an annoyance. Could his attitude have led to a tightening of the purse strings that contributed to the death toll?

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