Mexico to face COVID-19 with one of the world’s highest rates of diabetes

MEXICO CITY – Four of the six people who have died from coronavirus in Mexico so far had diabetes, raising alarm bells that a country with one of the world’s highest rates of the condition may be more vulnerable than its relatively young average age might suggest.

The World Health Organization has said people with diabetes and its related health complications are among those most vulnerable to severe cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly illness caused by the new coronavirus, along with the elderly.

Mexico has the fewest retirement-age citizens among nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). But it has the highest rate of obesity after the United States, and related illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes are widespread.

Mexico had 475 confirmed cases of COVID-19 – the illness caused by the virus – and six deaths by Thursday. Four of those who died had diabetes and two suffered from hypertension – both conditions that can exacerbate the illness. A seventh Mexican who died in Peru also had diabetes. While four of the victims were over age 60, the other two were 55 and 41.

“Coronavirus isn’t that lethal, except for people who have underlying health conditions that complicate it,” said Dr. Abelardo Avila, a researcher at the Salvador Zubiran National Institute for Medical Sciences and Nutrition. “Unfortunately, that’s the case for many millions of Mexicans.”

When details of the coronavirus deaths in Mexico became public, even health officials who had previously urged the population to remain calm began to acknowledge the scale of the problem the country is facing.

“Obese people, particularly morbidly obese ones, are the ones who are at biggest risk to suffer complications if they contract coronavirus,” said Ricardo Cortes, a Mexican health official.

Reuters,NBC NewsMarch 28, 2020

The Yucatan Times
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