By Amit Roy
THE proportion of patients with diabetes who have died from Covid-19 has gone up from 26 per cent to 32 per cent, according to the latest research from NHS England.
New figures show that 7,466 coronavirus patients who have died in hospitals in England had type 2 diabetes, which is common among Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
A further 365 who died had type 1 diabetes.
Combined, the 7,831 patients make up 32 per cent of the 24,739 Covid-19 deaths recorded in hospitals in England up to May 17.
Figures released on May 14 suggested that 5,873 diabetes patients – 26 per cent – had died with Covid-19, of a total of 22,332 deaths at that time.
Lead author of the study, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, the NHS’s national clinical director for diabetes and obesity and consultant diabetologist at Imperial College Hospitals, said: “This research shows the extent of the risk of coronavirus for people with diabetes and the different risks for those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“Importantly, it also shows that higher blood glucose levels and obesity further increase the risk in both types of diabetes.”
Valabhji, who is of Gujarati origin, added: “This can be worrying news, but we would like to reassure people that the NHS is here for anyone with concerns about diabetes – and has put extra measures in place to help people and keep them safe, including online sites to support people to care for themselves, digital consultations, and a dedicated new helpline for advice and support for people treated with insulin.”
Prof Partha Kar, who jointly did the data set, also emphasised: “The data shows the great risk diabetes carries with Covid-19.
“It is, however, important to note that the biggest determinant of risk lies with age – with low risk below the age of 40 and no recorded deaths below the age of 20 for anyone with diabetes.”
The Britain-born and Kolkata-educated consultant endocrinologist at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is also the national speciality adviser on diabetes to NHS England.
He said, “This data also shows a higher proportion of death was seen in BAME groups – in both types of diabetes.”
Meanwhile, prime minister Boris Johnson’s government is being urged to exercise caution in encouraging those in the vulnerable categories back to work as the lockdown is eased.
The Office for National Statistics data suggested more than 40,000 people have already died with Covid-19, confirming Britain’s status as the worst-hit nation in Europe.
Researchers warned this is set to rise much higher.
They said another 30,000 people in the UK could die unless everyone at high-risk is protected for as long as possible and not forced back to work post lockdown.
A study, published in The Lancet, looked at the medical records of some 3.8 million people and predicted what could happen after the lockdown.
If 10 per cent of the population in England are allowed to catch the virus, scientists said – and four per cent are already thought to have done so – the death toll could double.
Lead author Dr Amitava Banerjee, of the University College London Institute of Health Informatics, said: “I don’t think they should be rushing to go back to work until we have made sure that the infection rate is down, that transport is set up and that workplaces are safe”
Vulnerable people make up 20 per cent of the British population.
Dr Banerjee said: “This group is more likely to be admitted to hospital, to go to intensive care and to die. Why are we even discussing them going back to work at this stage?”