by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG – THERE is concern at the prevalence of diabetes, which is the leading underlying cause of a spike in the deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa decried the pervasiveness of the condition as his country recorded a steep rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Data released by the Department of Health also indicates that people with underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, renal disease, asthma and chronic respiratory disease are more vulnerable to developing severe complications and dying from coronavirus.
According to new research published by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, a third of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 had at least one co-morbidity.
“This is a significant concern in a country such as ours that also has a high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis, the leading cause of natural deaths in South Africa last year,” Ramaphosa said.
He said additionally, more than 4,5 million South Africans had diabetes, a figure that has doubled since 2017.
In the Western Cape alone, diabetes is co-morbidity in over half of all COVID-19 deaths.
The president said people with underlying medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension should be extra cautious during the COVID-19 crisis.
“They should observe social distancing, stay home if possible and stay away from crowded places. Like everyone else, they should practice good hygiene and continue to take their medication.”
Ramaphosa said while the COVID-19 fatality rate was low in South Africa compared to the rest of the world, the rising number of infections was a caution against complacency.
The country has 196 750 cases.
Some 3 200 people have died.
Ramaphosa urged compatriots to follow all the prevention measures.
“Let us remain cautious. Let us remain vigilant. Let us stay safe,” he concluded in his weekly letter.
– CAJ News