Covid 19/Coronavirus Information. Update Letter from Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK


May 20, 2020

To all our valued supporters, volunteers and friends in the North of England,

In my previous letter, sent on Monday, I promised to keep you posted on the latest NHS England information around diabetes and coronavirus. According to data published today, we now know more about which groups of people with diabetes are more likely to experience poor outcomes if they catch coronavirus - and the risks for people with type 1 diabetes are higher than for those with type 2.

I know this will lead to some concern so wanted to provide some reassurance about how we are reacting to these developments at Diabetes UK and providing the support you need. Firstly, it is important to remember the following:

  1. The risk of dying from coronavirus - for people with and without diabetes - remains very low. As cases of coronavirus decline, the risk to everyone of catching the disease will reduce in turn.
  2. The research focused on people who died in hospital with coronavirus - not the many thousands of people who were treated in hospital then recovered.
  3. The latest data is consistent with what we know about the impact of coronavirus on the general population; that poorer outcomes are, unfortunately, very strongly linked to older age. The numbers of people with all types of diabetes dying in hospital from coronavirus under the age of 40 were incredibly small, so the risk for younger people is considerably lower.
  4. The most important thing you can do is manage your condition carefully, keeping your blood sugar in range as much as possible. Keep on following the stringent social distancing measures to reduce your chances of catching the virus altogether.

Here at Diabetes UK, we will be calling on the UK Government to urgently review this evidence. We want them to ensure people at diabetes are kept safe at work and make sure you have access to all the support you need to keep yourself, or any family members with diabetes, safe.

We are updating our website constantly to provide answers to the many questions you will have. You can find more information, including where you can go for support and advice following this week's news, by clicking here

I know this continues to be a worrying time and I want you to know we are here for you. If you feel worried or have any questions, please call our helpline on 0345 123 2399 from Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, or email us at, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Please also feel free to join our North of England Diabetes UK Facebook group, which is friendly space for those living with diabetes to share information and their experiences, here:

Take care, stay safe and keep doing what you have been doing.

Clare Howarth,

Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK