Reading Between the Numbers

As the Trump administration questions Hurricane Maria’s  death toll—which jumped from 64 into the thousands, it's crucial to clarify how the updated figures were calculated to prepare for future disasters, write the chairs of the North American biostatistics departments.

2 independent analyses were “well-established and statistically rigorous,” but 1 study attributed 2,975 deaths to the storm; the other 4,645, reflecting imprecisions. The studies were transparent about their methods, inviting “open debate of assumptions that underlay the resulting calculations and resulting differences in death toll estimation.” Understanding data specifics, like infrastructure failures linked to mortality patterns, could save lives in future storms.

The Hill (Opinion)

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