Puerto Rico Deaths Spike, but Few Are Attributed to Hurricane

The numbers confirmed what had been speculated for weeks: After the waters receded and the roads were cleared, people here continued to die at rates far beyond normal.

As temperatures frequently rose above 90 degrees, the lack of power in nursing homes, private houses and hospitals hit the elderly particularly hard. Soaring temperatures accelerated the deaths of people who were already seriously ill. Ambulances could not arrive, medicines ran out and oxygen tanks that ran on electricity were useless, several funeral directors said.

Even with the increase in mortality in the weeks after Hurricane Maria, authorities insisted that the official death toll remained at 55: 20 direct deaths; 31 indirect deaths, such as suicides; and four more from leptospirosis, a waterborne bacterial…

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