Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Trump claimed on Thursday, without evidence, that the death toll of Hurricane Maria was "done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible," and disputed the official count of almost 3,000 deaths.

Reality check: The number provided by the George Washington University study, which was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, was conservative, the report's authors noted in the study.

The details: A key component of the report was an excess mortality study, which involved analyzing past mortality patterns from 2010 to 2017 in order to predict the expected number of deaths had Hurricane Maria not occurred, and comparing this to actual deaths observed.

The researchers also needed to project forward mortality with and without the hurricane, which required taking account for the massive migration off the island in the storm's wake. For observed deaths, the study relied on records for all deaths between September 2017 and February 2018 from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Health.

  • The study estimated that total excess deaths after the hurricane, when accounting for off-island migration, amounted to 2,975 for the period from September 2017 through February 2018.
  • The count included those that died due to circumstances after the hurricane, such as the scarce health services and completely immobile power grid.
  • The study found that medical professionals had not been trained in how to fill out death certificates in a post-disaster situation, and hesitated to attribute fatalities to the storm either directly or indirectly. This may have led to the initial low death toll that the Puerto Rican government reported.

Further bolstering its findings is the fact that the George Washington University study was not the only one to find a far higher death toll than what was initially reported.

Go deeper: Hurricane Maria's official death count raised to 2,975 after study

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
9 hours ago - Health

In photos: America celebrates July 4 during global pandemic

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. has already celebrated Easter, graduations and so much more during the coronavirus pandemic, and now it can add July 4 to the list.

The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.