Are We Actually Going To Discuss Puerto Rico’s Staggering Death Toll?

DK ONLINE: You will be flabbergasted by this.  Even more shocking? It is not a bigger story in the news. That in itself is outrageous. It must be talked about!  So, we shall at least talk about it here.

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine found there were 4,645 additional deaths in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The study, chiefly funded and conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said that figure surpasses the official estimated death toll by more than 70 times. Think about that for a minute.

The report indicates a third of the fatalities were “attributed to delayed or interrupted health care.”

(Video: A FOX News report covering the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.)

Puerto Rico’s government published official figures which say there were at least 1,400 more deaths than usual after the hurricane. This is over the same general time frame covered in the Harvard study.

The data is astounding. How does this happen in modern times? These are our people. These are our fellow American citizens.

It’s well known by now that Puerto Rico’s massive infrastructure failures have only made an awful situation much worse. The power grid is crumbling. There has been a frightening lack of water and other basic services.

Without a doubt we have a tremendous problem with the state of our infrastructure all around the country. What happened in Puerto Rico only underscores how devastating a natural disaster can be when basic preparedness and resource sustainability is largely absent.

Billions have been allocated for hurricane repairs and safeguards. It’s not enough. A reported $3.8 billion in federal dollars has been spent to stop what’s been called the most prolonged blackout in modern American history. Despite all of that money, officials say a future failure is essentially guaranteed when the next monster storm strikes.

We have an infrastructure problem that spans into the trillions. Politicians have debated aggressive tax repatriation, or taxing overseas profits returned to the United States. The debate has continued on for years. Depending on how it is done, it could help Puerto Rico and other at-risk hotspots across the nation. Other officials have pointed to the decades of reported mismanagement of public funds in P.R.

Whatever the case, deciding to not let our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters suffer another catastrophic blow from a hurricane on the scale of Maria or beyond, seems like a matter of basic humanity. It’s not on any one person or official. It is on the collective. Please tell me we still have the capacity to get this done somehow!

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