SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The pace of deaths quickened on Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria — well beyond the numbers officially attributed to the storm.
The U.S. territory reported an average of 82 deaths a day in the two weeks before Maria hit. That average increased to 117 from Sept. 20 to 30, though the rate has declined since then.
The territory's government says 55 people died in the Sept. 20 hurricane or later as directly result of it.
The overall daily death figures hint that storm could have caused other, harder to detect fatalities as well, though officials of the government's forensic institute said Wednesday they don't have evidence to attribute them to the storm.
Jose Lopez Rodriguez of the Puerto Rico Demographic Register says the post-storm increase was a "significant difference."