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The meeting of two pandemics: Kirsten Coppell talks diabetes and COVID-19

Associate Professor Kirsten Coppell, EDOR researcher and public health physician, led an article published in the New Zealand Medical Journal (NZMJ) on diabetes and COVID-19.

Diabetes and COVID-19—the meeting of two pandemics, highlights the concerns that those with diabetes are a vulnerable group, and that those with diabetes who are also infected with COVID-19 appear to have worse health outcomes.

The diabetes pandemic affects an estimated 9.3% (463 million) of adults globally. In New Zealand diabetes affects 7% of adults and a considerable number of children. Rates of diabetes are higher among Māori, Pacific and South Asian people when compared with New Zealand Europeans. These groups are especially vulnerable to the far reaching impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, as they are disproportionately exposed to risk. This is potentially exacerbated through sudden loss of jobs and income, and reduced access to usual social support and healthcare.

The New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) members, who have co-authored this article, suggest a number of steps that can be taken to avoid unnecessary and inequitable outcomes from COVID-19 for those with diabetes. In addition to nationwide public health measures, these include ensuring good access for patients to their primary care or specialist diabetes health care providers and striving for good glycaemic control. 

Read more about diabetes and COVID-19