Blog Post

Insight: The Clash of the Pandemics: The Need for Chronic Disease Prevention

By: Andrea Thomas Brandley

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

COVID-19, coronavirus, vaccines, Delta variant, and masks are now common (and tired) words in many conversations. The pandemic has become engrained in our daily lives. But before we’d heard any of these words, public health professionals and researchers were sounding the alarm of another pandemic: chronic disease. And regrettably, the two pandemics have become entwined. Many chronic diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, heart conditions, and diabetes, are associated with individuals having a higher risk of experiencing severe outcomes from COVID-19.[i]

For example, diabetes is the second most common underlying condition in COVID-19 deaths nationwide.[ii] And as noted above, individuals with type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions face a greater chance of experiencing severe complications if they contract COVID-19. Results from one study found 1 in 5 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes needed a ventilator within seven days of admission, and updated results found 1 in 5 died w