Are people with diabetes at greater risk from COVID-19 than the general populaton?

We don’t know for certain whether people with diabetes are at greater risk of contracting or ‘catching' the virus.

The problem for people with diabetes is the higher risk of severe illness if they do contract the virus. People with diabetes are at greater risk of severe illness needing hospital care. The data in Australia shows the people with diabetes represent 7% of diagnosed cases of COVID, 17% of hospitalised cases, 24% of ICU stays, and 25% of deaths.

Read more about the risk to people with all types of diabetes here.

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene can prevent infection.

We can all help to stop the spread of the virus by practicing good hygiene including washing hands regularly, using tissues and covering mouths when we cough or sneeze and avoiding close contact with others. People should participate in social distancing behaviours to help minimise the spread of the virus.

The NDSS Helpline has extended its hours to be able to give greater support for people with diabetes during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can call the Helpline on 1800 637 700 from 8:30am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday and from 9:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday.

We encourage people to also check the Department of Health’s Coronavirus Information Page for more information or contact the National Coronavirus Helpline. The National Coronavirus Helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1800 020 080.

You can download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the official WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

How it spreads

COVID-19 can spread from person to person through:

  • Close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)
  • Contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • Touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community. This means that COVID-19 could spread widely and quickly.

Symptoms and Testing

Learn more about the symptoms of COVID-19, what to do if you are feeling unwell and how testing is conducted here.

Protecting Yourself and Others

There are some practical things that we should all be doing to help stop the spread of COVID-19 including practicing good hygiene and engaging in social distancing. Find out more about how you can protect yourself and others from COVID-19 here.

Diabetes Products and Medicines

Diabetes Australia is working with the Department of Health to ensure people can continue to access essential diabetes medicines and products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

Services and Support

It is important you can continue to access your diabetes healthcare team even if you are in self-isolation. Find out how you can access healthcare support here.

Be Prepared

There are some things people with diabetes can do to help ensure they are as healthy as possible and reduce their risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19. Find out what you should do to be prepared here.

Updated: 6 July 2020

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