But the real disaster for Puerto Rico happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Untold homes were ruined, a gas crisis broke out, and perhaps worse of all, the electrical grid went dark for a long time. The average Puerto Rican spent 41 days without cell phone coverage, 68 days without water, and 84 days with no electricity.
That ridiculously slow infrastructure recovery proved to be lethal. A Harvard study asserts that 4,600 Puerto Ricans and counting have died because of the hurricane -- 70 times the government's official toll. Many of these deaths are attributed to people not being able to get any sort of medical care, which hit the chronically ill and elderly the hardest. It's really tricky to not just die from diabetes when the nearest insulin is a dozen flooded streets away and the local hospital has a weathered "BRB" Post-It stuck to the ER doors. And even if you did get your life-saving medicine, the only way to get your fridge running would be to tell it another hurricane was coming.
The region also suffered from a lethal outbreak of the bacterial disease leptospirosis, killing dozens. If you've never even heard of leptospirosis before this sentence, it's because officials chose to ignore it was happening. There's also a rash of desperate suicides going that is being seriously underreported.
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