Statement Issued by Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University on Sept. 13, 2018

We stand by the science underlying our study which found there were an estimated 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Researchers at the Milken Institute SPH in collaboration with scientists at the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health analyzed mortality, via use of death certificates and related information, from September 2017 through the end of February 2018. Using a state-of-the-art mathematical model, the team compared the total number of deaths during that time to the expected number based on historical patterns as well as age, sex, socioeconomic status and migration from the island.

This study, commissioned by the Government of Puerto Rico, was carried out with complete independence and freedom from any kind of interference.

Our results show that Hurricane Maria was a very deadly storm, one that affected the entire island but hit the poor and the elderly the hardest.  We are confident that the number - 2,975 - is the most accurate and unbiased estimate of excess mortality to date.

The report, “Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,” can be accessed here.

For more information, visit prstudy.publichealth.gwu.edu.