Long also did not dispute Trump's claim that Democrats raised the death toll to make the president "look as bad as possible", telling NBC's Chuck Todd, "I don't know why the studies were done". A study by Harvard University released in May estimated that Maria was responsible for the deaths of more than 4,600 people.
Long gave other examples - increased heart attacks because of stress, people falling off their house trying to fix the roof or dying in vehicle crashes in intersections where the lights aren't working. It's because better information has been gathered than was available in the chaotic days after Hurricane Maria hit - and, sadly, because more people died as a result of the devastating damage to the island's infrastructure.
The death toll figure was actually the result of a months-long intensive scientific study conducted by epidemiologists, a demographer, a public health nutritionist, environmental health scientists, two public health research assistants, an anthropologist, a behavioural scientist and two health communication experts.
In a recent news conference in San Juan, the governor of Puerto Rico promised his island "would establish a registry for people who are likely to be the most vulnerable, such as the elderly and those who rely on kidney dialysis".
By identifying the preventable causes of these deaths, we can save lives the next time a fierce storm hits.
"The bottom line is, we push forward on that authority as much as we can", he said on CBS' "Face the Nation".
The GWU study states that researchers took into account regular and predicted death rates, death certificate data and other relevant information before using a sophisticated mathematical model to estimate so-called "excess deaths" in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
"Spousal abuse goes through the roof".
President Donald Trump sparked widespread outrage last week after he repeatedly rejected findings that put the death toll in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria at almost 3,000. "You can't blame spousal abuse after a disaster on anybody", Long said.
Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democrat expected to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress on November 6, tweeted: "My own grandfather died in the aftermath of the storm. Many, many people impacted by this storm point to government inaction as the cause of death". "He contended that the crucial figure is 'direct deaths - which is the wind, the water and the waves, buildings collapsing". That is the modern day colonial relationship that the United States has with Puerto Rico.
Fourteen people have died from the storm as of Sunday morning as Florence continues to slam the mid-Atlantic coast.
"I would never intentionally violate any rules that I was aware of", he said.