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Diabetes Week: Type 2 Increases Risk Of Severe Illness, Hospitalization And Death From COVID-19

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Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on people living with diabetes in the U.S., delaying care, further stalling treatment advancements and increasing susceptibility to the worst effects of COVID-19 infection.

According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 40% of people who died from COVID-19 also had diabetes. A Reuters analysis of CDC data shows deaths from diabetes were up 17% in 2020, with younger people (ages 24-44) seeing the sharpest increase.

In Bexar County, diabetes has been the most common of comorbidities among residents who died from or been hospitalized with COVID-19. In September 2020, diabetic patients reportedly accounted for more than one-third of local coronavirus deaths.

Why does being diabetic increase the risk of severe illness from coronavirus infection? Why does Type 2 specifically lead to more complications?

Emerging research also shows a link between COVID-19 and new cases of both Types 1 and 2 diabetes. What's the connection?

In what ways has the pandemic worsened America's pre-existing diabetes crisis? Will dire outcomes for these patients prompt a renewed focus on and an increase in efforts toward ending the U.S. diabetes epidemic?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, August 25.

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