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Author: Devorah Levy-Pearlman

Why there’s controversy on the death toll after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, in context

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine released a shocking report based on new data found on the death toll caused by Hurricane Maria. The Harvard University study found that last September’s hurricane may have been the nation’s deadliest natural disaster in 100 years. Moreover, the report says, Maria caused at least $900 billion in damages, which impaired the effectiveness of existing health surveillance infrastructure. The lack of accurate methods to determine mortality rates led to a gross miscalculation of the hurricane’s deadly impact. Recent new investigations estimate as many as 4,600 “excess deaths” between the hurricane’s onset and...

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The Puerto Rico-Josephson Institute scandal, in context

The Puerto Rico Department of Education found itself caught in a tangled web of media controversy amidst ongoing accusations of corruption. Puerto Rican media outlets have stormed on the Department claiming the Secretary of the Department of Education, Julia Keleher, is involved in shady financing behind closed doors. The controversy spun out in response to the Department’s recent awading of a grant to California-based nonprofit The Josephson Institute. The Department awarded the nonprofit a $16.9 million contract to teach values in Puerto Rico’s schools. The Josephson Institute describes its program, Tus Valores Cuentan, as “a character-building program for youth,”...

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Suicides on the rise in Puerto Rico

The aftershocks of Hurricane Maria have not only taken a serious physical toll on the islands, but a psychological one as well. It’s estimated that at least 103 Puerto Ricans have committed suicide since the hurricane hit on September 20 last year. The end of 2017 saw a 29% increase in the incidence of suicides, compared to 2016. While it’s difficult to determine exactly how many of these cases are directly correlated with the aftermath of the destruction, psychologists agree that natural disasters take a big toll on the mental health of a population. Not having electricity, water, or...

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Hurricane Maria worsens flu outbreak in the United States

This past flu season has been a rough one for the US, reaching an unprecedented level of incidence. In January, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that forty-six states, including Puerto Rico, are experiencing widespread flu activity this season. This has left hospitals and medical providers overwhelmed by the demand for appropriate healthcare. Further exacerbating the issue is the ongoing IV bag shortage, which is plaguing hospitals throughout the nation. Between these crises lies an unexpected connection: Hurricane Maria. Little do most Americans know, approximately half of the country’s IV bags are manufactured in Puerto Rico. The...

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Puerto Rico Legislature to focus on police retirement, taxes, and recovery

On January 8, President of the Puerto Rican Senate Thomas Rivera Schatz made an announcement calling for the Upper House to focus their efforts on the Police Retirement System, Tax Reform, and continued post-hurricane reconstruction. Schatz called for legislation to approve the Senate office in Washington, DC in order to increase communication between the territory and the federal capital regarding Puerto Rico’s legislative concerns. Accordingly, the Senate will be in Washington to work on initiatives to benefit the islands. Throughout the month of January, the legislature has continued to address efforts to mitigate post-Maria and Irma damage to the...

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    January 18, 2019 @ 9:00 am - January 21, 2019 @ 9:00 pm EST