This site is intended for health professionals only

Quarter of patients who have died with Covid-19 had diabetes


Over a quarter of the patients who died with coronavirus (Covid-19) in England had diabetes, official figures have revealed.

Providing its first breakdown of the backgrounds of those who died, NHS England confirmed that diabetes is the most common pre-existing condition, with 26% of the dead having been diagnosed with it. 

This equates to 5,873 out of 22,332 people, but does not specify between Type 1 and Type 2.

Notably, diabetes does not feature on the list of conditions the four UK governments’ chief medical officers have set out to determine whether a patient should be shielding from the virus because they are ‘extremely vulnerable’, but only in the ‘moderately vulnerable’ cohort.

In total, the NHS England statistics showed that 70% of Covid-19 fatalities had at least one underlying condition. Although they may have experienced more than one, the current data explores separately reported conditions.

Today’s announcement is based on analyses of people who were recorded as dying in hospitals in England and tested positive for Covid-19 at the time of death.

They cover all data up to 5pm on Tuesday (12 May) and derive from the Covid-19 Patient Notification System.

The subsequent most common conditions were:

  • dementia (18%);
  • chronic pulmonary disease (15%);
  • chronic kidney disease (14%); and 
  • ischaemic heart disease (10%).

Asthma; chronic neurological disorders; and rheumatological disorders also featured, having affected 7%; 3% and 3% of victims respectively.

The data further showed that 5% of the people who died had received treatment for a mental health condition, with a further 2% having a learning difficulty or autism.

Individuals with some of the aforementioned conditions, such as severe asthma, are considered ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ to the virus, and should therefore be shielding.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 33,614 people have now died in the UK with Covid-19, while a rapid review is underway to establish why those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds appear more adversely affected.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.