Chief Meteorologist Reveals Truth About Hurricane Maria’s Death Count, Says It Is “Misunderstood”

Dems will try anything to smear Trump.

The latest plan by the Democrats to take down Trump is to inflate the number of people that died from Hurricane Maria in Puerto.

Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, claimed an estimated 3,000 people died from Hurricane Maria, citing a study from George Washington University.


Trump on Thursday blasted Cruz and other Democrats for inflating the numbers for political reasons and said the the death count was between 6 to 18.

https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1040217897703026689?s=21


https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/1040220855400386560?s=21



Chief Meteorologist John Morales from NBC6 in Miami said the death count from Hurricane Maria is “misunderstood.”

From washingtonpost.com

[...] The Harvard study, which has been criticized for its sampling methodology, shows a very broad range of 793 to 8,498 (95 percent confidence interval) excess deaths from Sept. 20, 2017, the day Maria made landfall, to Dec. 31, 2017. The large range denotes a high degree of uncertainty. But only the midpoint of that range was widely disseminated on most traditional and social media: 4,645. I would argue that to the layperson, 4,645 was seen as a deterministic, very accurate figure of how many died as a consequence of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. And now with the GW study, 2,975 is seen as “the exact number.” Neither is true.

Here’s the rub: Hurricane fatalities are not customarily counted this way. The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center count only direct deaths: those that can be attributed to the effects of the weather such as flood drownings or flying debris, for example. These agencies also look at and separately list indirect deaths: automobile accidents, electrocutions and carbon monoxide poisoning from power generators, to name a few. Emergency management agencies follow the same model, and their officials are normally the ones briefing the politicians. So the politicians are used to counting deaths just as the National Weather Service does.

Is this the right way to count the dead? I’m not arguing for or against that point. But for better or worse, it’s the way we’ve historically counted tropical cyclone deaths. Excess mortality studies are not done for all disasters, much less all hurricanes. You can see from my summary of the Maria studies that they can vary greatly in the time-frame selected to count the excess deaths, as well as methodology.

Excess mortality requires that the investigators look at deaths that are “possibly attributable to hurricanes,” as stated in the GW study. These may include fatalities from people not able to reach a doctor or those whose critical medical equipment failed because of lack of power. It may also count those that in the post-traumatic stress might have suffered a heart attack, or a plethora of other causes of death.

Because excess mortality studies are not available for most hurricane disasters, there’s no way for us to compare what happened in regard to excess deaths in Puerto Rico to any other past disaster. It can’t be compared with other hurricanes that made American landfall, either, because deaths in those cases were counted based on the customary methods used by the National Hurricane Center, or with excess mortality studies that used drastically different methods, like this one for Katrina. Therefore, the comparison between the initial official Puerto Rico government-reported Maria death toll of 64 and the huge numbers estimated by these studies is not an apples-to-apples comparison.


As Morales said in his piece, Hurricane fatalities are customarily counted directly, not indirectly.


Posted Thursday, September 13, 2018

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