Jul 3, 2018

Dozens died from treatable illness in Puerto Rico after Maria

Photo: AFP Contributor/Getty Images

At least 26 people died of the bacterial disease leptospirosis in Puerto Rico during the six months after Hurricane Maria, according to a new report from CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo.

Why it matters: Leptospirosis, an illness often spread in floodwaters via animal urine, is rarely a fatal disease and is easily treatable with antibiotics — but the Puerto Rican government refused to declare an outbreak, which could have furthered the illness' effects by failing to prompt greater surveillance and prevention efforts.

Twenty-six deaths attributed to leptospirosis — that's extraordinary. There's no other way of putting it. ... The numbers are huge."
— UCSD medical professor Dr. Joseph Vinetz told CNN

The big picture: As of June 22, Puerto Rico's Health Department said only four people had died of the disease because of Maria. They added two to that count after CNN asked about the 26 deaths, which had been discovered via a Puerto Rican mortality database.

  • The government's official death toll from the storm sits at 64 and doesn't include the two cases added by Puerto Rico's Health Department, pending a wider government review of the death toll. Independent estimates believe that number is widely underreported — and could number in the thousands.

The bottom line: Nine months later, there are still many unanswered questions about the storm and its overall impacts on Puerto Rico, leaving families and residents at a loss regarding officially uncounted deaths.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,626,047 — Total deaths: 351,815 — Total recoveries — 2,314,233Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,684,173 — Total deaths: 99,123 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Tech: Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next
  5. Business: Boeing to lay off 6,770 more U.S. employees.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: SpaceX to launch historic crewed mission for NASA

The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX will attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station today.

Why it matters: If all goes well, this launch — expected to happen at 4:33 p.m. ET — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

Follow along below for live coverage...

Pompeo tells Congress Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

Why it matters: Revoking Hong Kong's special status would hasten its economic and financial decline, already set in motion by China's growing political grip on the city. The preferential status that the U.S. has long granted Hong Kong has made the city a top U.S. trading partner.

Go deeper (1 min. read)ArrowUpdated 51 mins ago - World