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A quarter of English COVID-19 deaths in hospitals were diabetics

Published on 15/05/20 at 12:08pm
Photo by Jack Sem

The NHS’s first data breakdown of underlying health conditions in COVID-19 fatalities has shown that 1 in 4 deaths in hospitals occurred in diabetics.

Between 31 March and 12 May, 22,332 people died from COVID-19 related illnesses in English hospitals with 5,873, or 26%, suffering from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Professor Partha Kar, NHS England’s specialty adviser on the disease, commented on this data analysis and said: “It is clear that people with diabetes are more at risk of dying from Covid-19. More detailed analysis is currently underway to understand the link between the two, although initial findings indicate that the threat in people under 40 continues to be very low.”

This more detailed analysis of the results will look at how many of these fatalities with type 1 diabetes suffered from an autoimmune disease and how many with type 2 may have been linked to other health conditions as this variation of diabetes usually occurs in the obese.

Bridget Turner, Director of policy at the charity Diabetes UK, also weighed in on the research and told the Guardian that: “The fact that more than a quarter of people who have died with Covid-19 have diabetes underlines the urgent need to ensure better protection and extra support is available to those in the clinically vulnerable groups.

“Until we know more, people living with diabetes should be supported to manage their condition, attend appointments as normal either online or in person at Covid-protected sites and, most importantly, should continue to have access to their local clinical team if they have concerns.”

The reason COVID-19 hurts diabetics is because their condition often involves complications with the heart and kidneys. Their immune systems are also usually not as good at fighting infections compared to people without diabetes.

Conor Kavanagh

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