COVID-19 Warning For Diabetic and Obese Patients

SABC NEWS: There are statistics emerging from South Africa that suggests people living with diabetes (PLWD), as well as those with an elevated body mass index (BMI), are likely to experience a more “severe and complicated” course of COVID-19.

Specialist family physician Professor Morgan Chetty has placed people who suffer from uncontrolled diabetes and obesity at the top the list of most vulnerable people when it comes to contracting COVID-19. As the CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Managed Care Coalition Limited, Professor Chetty has been closely monitoring the situation in the province. He says with new infections rising by the day, KwaZulu-Natal could soon see a sharp spike in the province’s overall coronavirus numbers. Chetty also warns sufferers of HIV, tuberculosis and hypertension to make sure they take extra precautions.

When it comes to COVID-19, The American Diabetes Association explains, “In China, where most cases have occurred so far, people with diabetes had much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes.”

Also, according to Associate Professor Joel Dave, head of the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Department of Medicine. Diabetes is said to be one of the leading comorbidities (the presence of one or more conditions occurring with a primary medical condition) of COVID-19, alongside an elevated BMI, hypertension and HIV.

UCT News caught up with Davids who unpacked this subject further.

Niémah Davids (ND): Are PLWD more at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Joel Dave (JD): There is currently no evidence to suggest that PLWD or people with an elevated BMI are at greater risk of being infected with [severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus] SARS-CoV-2. However, there is evidence from other countries and increasing evidence from South Africa indicating that, when infected with SARS CoV-2, PLWD and those with an elevated BMI are more likely to develop a severe and complicated form of COVID-19. 

The exact reason for this is not yet known. But it’s presumed to be because PLWD often has an elevated BMI, are older, have other associated comorbidities (such as hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease) and often have a dysfunctional immune system, placing them at risk of more severe infections during COVID-19. To read more go here

Source inputs: SABC NEWS | UCT

📣 Follow Indian Spice on TwitterInstagramFacebookTelegramTikTok and on YouTube, and stay updated with the latest South African Indian news and international Indian news.


The global lockdown has everyone’s mental health in a spin! Have you checked out our Mental Health resources by Indian Spice click here

The South African Depression And Anxiety Group (SADAG) is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group open 7 days a week from 8am – 8pm. If you are needing a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or support group call SADAG on 011 234 4837 or 0800 20 50 26 and speak to a trained counselor who can assist you further. Substance abuse hotline: 0800 12 13 14 is available 24hrs or alternatively email Zane on zane@sadag.org

If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. India Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918

Stay at home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority during the coronavirus crisis. 

Connect with the Coronavirus Whatsapp services below

  • Coronavirus India Whatsapp tap here
  • Coronavirus South Africa Whatsapp tap here
  • SA Hotline Number: 0800 029 999

For more related coronavirus (COVID-19) latest news and stories click here