Puerto Rico’s governor raised the island’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 on Tuesday after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the desperate, sweltering months after the storm had been severely undercounted.
The new estimate of nearly 3,000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
Tuesday’s finding is almost twice the government’s previous estimate, included in a recent report to Congress, that there were 1,427 more deaths than normal in the three months after the storm.
President Donald Trump, offered a still-rosy outlook of his administration’s handling of the disaster on Wednesday.
Trump also awarded himself a “10 out of 10” on disaster recovery efforts during an Oval Office meeting last year with Puerto Rico’s governor.
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