“It’s clear that if people with diabetes are infected with Covid-19, they have higher odds of worse outcomes: One study suggests that the mortality rate for people with diabetes may be as high as 30%. But it’s not yet figured out why that is — and finding an answer may be complicated. People with diabetes can have a mix of biological and socioeconomic factors that could be making them more vulnerable to Covid-19. Some, for example, might live in households with essential workers or in neighborhoods where it’s harder to be physically active while staying 6 feet away from others.
“And diabetes can damage the same organs that Covid-19 targets, making it ‘incredibly difficult to parse out the cause and effect of what’s going on in these patients,’ one expert says.”
by Elizabeth Cooney
“Some of Mary-Elizabeth Patti’s patients with diabetes are in a bind. Careful to practice social distancing, they tell her during telehealth visits they don’t feel safe exercising outdoors in their congested neighborhoods — though they know staying active and maintaining good blood sugar levels may be their best defense against severe Covid-19.
“’I’m always happy when patients say, yes, I’m not going out, I’m wearing a mask, I’m doing as much as I can. But it makes it harder for people to meet their fitness goal, which is such a critical element of overall health and metabolic health,’ said Patti, an adult endocrinologist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. ‘It underscores the health inequity problem,’ she added: ‘Their exposures may be increased due to living in a densely populated neighborhood with multigenerational families [and] more essential workers who cannot work from home.’
“There are no easy answers to the coronavirus pandemic, but for people with diabetes, it’s dismayingly difficult to untangle the thicket of biological and socioeconomic factors that make them more likely to suffer severe illness and die should they catch the virus that causes Covid-19.”