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Downed power lines and debris are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Photo: Gerald Herbert / AP

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló ordered a recount Monday of every death on the island since Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20, as evidence continues to show that the official death toll grossly undercuts the true number, reports the New York Times.

By the numbers: The official death count is at 64. The Times' independent analysis, based on daily mortality data from Puerto Rico's vital statistics bureau, estimates that it's closer to 1,052.

Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism also estimated that 1,065 more people than usual had died in September and October of 2017 than in the same period in 2016 and 2015.

Methods for tolling the number of storm-related deaths vary by state and locality. The Times points out that some places only count direct deaths, such as people who drown in storm floodwaters. But Puerto Rico's method is less rigid, and deaths indirectly caused by a storm, such as suicides or death by infection, are included in the tally.

What they're saying: "This is about more than numbers, these are lives: real people, leaving behind loved ones and families," Rosselló said in a statement. Rosselló had previously repeatedly defended Puerto Rico's counting method. The Times suggests the recount is "an apparent about-face for his administration," as they couldn't ignore the mounting evidence that the toll does not accurately depict reality.

What's next: The recount will require interviewing doctors and family members of the dead to learn whether their cause of death could have been linked to the fallout from the storm. For example, a heart attack may have been brought on by the stress of the hurricane, or roads leading to the hospital may have been blocked by debris.

Go deeper: One-third of Puerto Rico still doesn't have power.

Go deeper

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

2 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.

China's crypto throwdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's latest move to ban cryptocurrency shows how tough it will be for the technology to deliver on its backers' vision of disruptive, decentralized change.

The big picture: Control of the currency is a foundation of sovereignty, and governments don't plan on losing that control even as money inevitably turns digital.

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