INTRODUCTION: Since early 2020 the whole world has been challenged by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the associated global pandemic (Covid-19). People with diabetes are particularly at high risk of becoming seriously unwell after contracting this virus.
METHODS: This population-based study included people living in the Greater Manchester conurbation who had a recorded diagnosis of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and subsequent Covid-19 infection. Each individual with T1DM (n = 862) or T2DM (n = 13,225) was matched with three Covid-19-infected non-diabetes controls.
RESULTS: For individuals with T1DM, hospital admission rate in the first 28 days after a positive Covid-19 test was 10% vs 4.7% in age/gender-matched controls [relative risk (RR) 2.1]. For individuals with T2DM, hospital admission rate after a positive Covid-19 test was 16.3% vs 11.6% in age/gender-matched controls (RR 1.4). The average Townsend score was higher in T2DM (1.8) vs matched controls (0.4), with a higher proportion of people with T2DM observed in the top two quintiles of greatest disadvantage (p < 0.001). For Covid-19-infected individuals with T1DM, factors influencing admission likelihood included age, body mass index (BMI), hypertension, HbA1c, low HDL-cholesterol, lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and being of African/mixed ethnicity. In Covid-19-infected individuals with T2DM, factors related to a higher admission rate included age, Townsend index, comorbidity with COPD/asthma and severe mental illness (SMI), lower eGFR. Metformin prescription lowered the likelihood. For multivariate analysis in combined individuals with T2DM/controls, factors relating to higher likelihood of admission were having T2DM/age/male gender/diagnosed COPD/diagnosed hypertension/social deprivation (higher Townsend index) and non-white ethnicity (all groups).
CONCLUSION: In a UK population we have confirmed a significantly higher likelihood of admission in people with diabetes following Covid-19 infection. A number of factors mediate that increased likelihood of hospital admission. For T2DM, the majority of factors related to increased admission rate are common to the general population but more prevalent in T2DM. There was a protective effect of metformin in people with T2DM.