But an increasingly tall stack of evidence indicates the official government estimate - 64 deaths - misses the mark.
Their analysis found an increase of 1,139 deaths over what would be expected in Puerto Rico in the 2½ months following the storm.
Some deaths were a direct effect of Hurricane Maria, including residents who drowned in flooded streets or who were crushed in collapsing buildings.
Puerto Rico is back, baby ...
Howard '14, an alumnus of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) who joins the faculty this month in the Department of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition, and Alexis Raúl Santos-Lozada '15, a UTSA alumnus and assistant professor of human development and family studies, at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, worked together on the study, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers arrived at this estimate by comparing the number of deaths during the months after the hurricane hit to those in previous years. "They can't be. There were just too many deaths". But in all those cases, the 2017 count was within the historical range.
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Tesla, Inc., (NASDAQ: TSLA)
In a transaction dated Jun. 13, 2018, the shares were bought at an average price of $343.78, giving away a sum of $24,924,050. Regardless, closing prices are a useful tool that investors use to quantify changes in stock prices over time.
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CNN and other news organizations have been raising questions about the official Hurricane Maria death toll for months. The count normalized by December. "Beyond that FEMA will not comment on pending litigation".
When they obtained daily (rather than monthly) mortality data through May 2018, the immediate impact of the hurricane was clear: For about two weeks after September 20, there were between 25 and 50 additional deaths per day, Harvard biostatistician Rafael Irizarry wrote on his blog.
Using the same database, CNN reported on deaths labeled in government records as hurricane-related that were not counted by officials; and, in partnership with CPI, reported on an apparent leptospirosis "outbreak " that was not identified that way by authorities.
Their calculations showed that the number of excess daily deaths continued to rise until February.
This year, CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI) in Puerto Rico sued the island's Demographic Registry to make public a database with information about everyone who died in the months after the storm.
The Puerto Rican government hired George Washington University to review the number of lives lost due to the 2017 storm. A Harvard University study released in May said the hurricane was likely responsible for more than 4,600 deaths, a figure that was based on results of a door-to-door survey of 3,299 randomly selected homes across the island. But researchers say the true number of deaths may actually be much higher.