Image of Jonathan Valabhji, M.D., Ph.D.

Two studies have found a high COVID-19 mortality rate in people in whom diabetes or Parkinson’s disease has been diagnosed.

A nationwide analysis in England revealed that type 1 and type 2 diabetes are independently associated with increased odds of in-hospital death with COVID-19. In fact, people with diabetes accounted for one third of all in-hospital COVID-19 deaths during the study period, reported Jonathan Valabhji, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Health Service and NHS Improvement.

The findings were gleaned from individuals’ health data spanning March through mid-May, adjusting for demographic factors and cardiovascular comorbidities. The researchers also noted that the unadjusted rates of in-hospital deaths for patients with type 1 diabetes and COVID-19 were about half those of patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19, likely reflecting greater numbers of older — and therefore higher-risk — type 2 diabetes patients.

Meanwhile, a study of health data from approximately 80,000 mostly U.S. patients found that people with Parkinson’s disease have 30% greater odds of dying from COVID-19 than people without the neurodegenerative condition. The link may be explained by the fact that pneumonia is a leading cause of death in Parkinson’s disease, and COVID can cause pneumonia, concluded researchers from University of Iowa Health Care, Iowa City, IA.