The COVID-19 pandemic has collided with the diabetes pandemic to create especially susceptible diabetes COVID-19 patient populations. Among diabetes patients that contract COVID-19, well-controlled blood glucose has emerged as an important predictor of more favorable patient outcomes and survival. COVID-19 can also induce high blood sugar in non-diabetes patients, secondary to infection, which increases the risk of critical disease. Prediabetes, characterized by elevated fasting blood sugar or impaired insulin sensitivity, has been mostly overlooked in COVID-19 studies, but could potentially pose a threat to clinical outcomes.
Vulnerabilities may be further amplified by comorbid medical conditions, e.g. obesity, cardiovascular disease, racial and ethnic disparities, and access to medical care. Thus, in addition to parallels in pathology, the two diseases also reflect their distinct and shared scope of socioeconomic burdens. As our understanding of COVID-19 increases through the lens of diabetes, identifying prognostic factors could help stratify individuals with diabetes most at risk. Moreover, as more evidence comes to light, improvements in short- and long-term care for patients with and without diabetes will develop while we all await a vaccine.