Children who get covid-19 may be at increased risk for diabetes


The Center for Disease Control just released a report that says children who recovered from Covid-19 may be at higher risk for both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. The report shows an unusually large correlation between children under 18 with newly diagnosed diabetes and testing positive for Covid between March 2020 and June 2021. And the CDC isn’t just saying there’s a chance, they say these kids have a “considerably higher risk.” What fresh hell is this?!

A new study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children who recovered from COVID-19 may be at a considerably higher risk of developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

The report, which was released Friday, explored two large insurance claim databases in the United States, specifically examining the frequency of newly diagnosed diabetes cases among children under 18 who were COVID-positive at some point between March 1, 2020 and June 28, 2021. The diabetes diagnoses were from patients 30 days post COVID-19 infection, compared to those who were not infected.

Researchers found an increase in new diabetes cases in both sets of insurance databases. The first database showed an increase of 166%, while the second set of data showed a lower increase of 31%.

“Even a 30 percent increase is a big increase in risk,” Sharon Saydah, a researcher at the C.D.C who spearheaded the study told The New York Times. She explained that the stark difference between the findings of the two databases is likely a result of different ways of categorizing children as having COVID.

Dr. Saydah noted that most children were studied for about four and a half months, so it was still unclear if the diabetes would be chronic or improve over time. The increase in diabetes cases was witnessed in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

[From People]

The article went on to state that at this time, they believe Covid may lead to diabetes by attacking the pancreatic cells. I’m trying not to use alarmist language partly because I don’t understand all of this and because I realize this is initial reporting. However, this scares me – a lot. Diabetes is not a mild disease. If managed, one can live a very normal life. But management can be difficult. Medication and treatments are expensive, even without price gouging. I’m clinging to the line “it was still unclear if the diabetes would be chronic or improve over time,” as my one ray of hope in this. Because I’m reading this as I receive daily emails from my kids’ school with the Covid positive reports from the take-home tests. I’m hearing stories from my kids about students coming back to school after testing positive. I honestly have no more rants left. I feel defeated.

Part of the reason for releasing the initial findings is because, if it proves to be true, it’s better to get it out there and have people acting on it. Dr. Saydah, who is quoted in the article, wants people to identify diabetic signs and symptoms and have them tested immediately.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unintended weight loss and fatigue. Type 2 diabetes differs from Type 1 in that former is largely diet related, though the CDC report did not differentiate between the types of diabetes found in the study.

You can check the American Diabetes Association website for more information about symptoms. You can also donate to them while you’re there. Or donate to the JDRF. You can also make sure your kids are vaccinated if they’re eligible and that they wear masks. I hope your school district is taking this seriously. I’m sorry if they aren’t. Stay safe, everyone.


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64 Responses to “Children who get covid-19 may be at increased risk for diabetes”

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  1. Mcmmom says:

    Wow. I didn’t see that one coming.

    My 13 year old is returning to school after a 5 day dance with Omicron. Fortunately, her symptoms were mild and she was never very sick. She is vaccinated, but was scheduled for the booster the day she tested positive.

  2. Ashley says:

    Our school district is doing everything they can, but we are an underfunded public school with a predominantly black student body in a red state. The state has done everything they can to take our protections away. Virtual school has been banned, and we’ve had to fight tooth and nail to keep our mask mandate. It’s incredibly stressful especially since my youngest is too young to get vaccinated.

  3. Ennie says:

    Everyone or almost everyone will get it at some point 😞

  4. EviesMom says:

    You don’t recover from type 1 diabetes. It is a disease which you will manage for the rest of your life & will impact you everytime you consume food. It is a ‘forever’ disease at this time. Even in a country with universal health care & a 6 figure income – it is an expensive disease. People should be very concerned about this linkage between covid & auto immune diseases.
    Source: mother of a T1D kid diagnosed at 14 years old.

    • North of Boston says:

      You don’t recover from type 2 diabetes either. The only hint of recovery make be in some people who have had certain types of bariatric surgery; for a large % of people with diabetes, their blood sugar response returns to normal immediately after surgery. Some people who say they are cured are managing it very well through meal planning, exercise, etc.

      If some people with COVID-triggered cases are actually recovering (ie their bodies regain normal pancreatic function and insulin response) that’s really interesting as a possible research area even if the original diagnoses and increased risks are awful.

      • olliesmom says:

        Yep. Type 2, once you develop it, is a lifelong condition that will need constant monitoring and control (diet, exercise, weight control and possible insulin injections). Your pancreas no long functions like it should regarding insulin production.

    • eliza says:

      Type 1 and Type 2 are so dramatically different. It’s really hard to compare them. You might not be able to fully recover from Type 2 but you can manage it pretty well with smart life style choices and taking your medication. You still actually make insulin, your body just isn’t very efficient in terms of using the insulin. But the insulin is there and with life style management you can really lead a pretty normal life. Type 1 is a whole different beast because there is not, and never will be, any insulin in the body. There is no way to way to cure or manage your diabetes with life style. Without insulin you’ll die in a week or so regardless if one eats apples and lentils, or twinkies and pizza. You are constantly, and I mean CONSTANTLY, raising or lowering your blood sugar by injecting insulin to lower it, or carbs to raise it. My son is a type 1 diabetic and has a continuous glucose monitor on him 24/7; and there are some nights where I have to wake him up three times a night to drink maple syrup because his blood sugar is dropping fast enough for him to have a seizure or go into a coma. Or times when his insulin tubing got kinked for three hours and he started getting sick and showing the first signs of dka that is life threatening. I’m not saying that type 2 isn’t stressful, it is, but with type 1 you are in a 24/7 high wire balancing act with blood sugars that if you get wrong can be life threatening in the very very short term. And he has well controlled diabetes, it’s just part of what life is like if you have type 1.

    • eliza says:


  5. GreenQueen says:

    I’m currently double vaccinated and boosted AND pregnant and have a 11 month old who can’t get the vaccine. My husband tested positive 2 days ago, I just tested positive and my baby is showing symptoms. I’m so scared for him and the one on the way.

    I have been working as a bedside nurse for years at a Level 1 Burn & Peds trauma unit and I’m just done. I’m cutting back my hours and I don’t know if I can honestly do this anymore. I thought I would be working at this place for the rest of my life. Pre-pandemic it was already an immensely difficult job and my family have begged me to leave for years but now… it’s a war zone.

    Most of my patients (about 80%) are unvaccinated and I’m in one of the most liberal cities in America. But our hospital is the only trauma center servicing 4 states and the other 3 we cover are major red states. All of the patients on vents right now are unvaccinated.

    • Louise says:

      GreenQueen, I’m so sorry you are going through all of that; I can’t imagine how stressed out you must be. Thank you for what you do and have done. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    • Ocho says:

      I am so so sorry GreenQueen.

    • gruey says:

      I am so sorry for everything you are going through. I honestly cannot fathom what is happening right now.

    • Stacy Dresden says:

      Hoping for full recovery for you and your precious family.

  6. Ocho says:

    I saw a doctor in London who is one of the leading specialists for Long Covid in the UK. (Luckily, tests showed I was fine in that regard, some other weird thing.) She told me that Long Covid was triggering early onset of other illnesses. For example, she has a 40 year old patient who now has Parkinson’s. He had shown no signs previously, and while it was in his family to get diagnosed much later in life, she says Long Covid triggered it much sooner.

    • Julia says:

      Yes, I saw a UK study who highlighted this for Type 1 diabetes in children already, this is terrifying – the idea that Covid triggers other illnesses, that may have happened way later (or not at all).

      What I’m unclear on is if being vaccinated somehow protects against these triggers, as hopefully symptoms are milder and therefore the risks of getting long Covid is also significantly reduced.

  7. Tootsie McJingle says:

    My 6 year old, 7 year old, and 5 month old twins just had it. This terrifies me. I’m praying that because the older two were vaccinated before they had it, they’re maybe somewhat protected from that. And I was vaccinated while pregnant with the twins and boosted while breastfeeding, so hopefully they get protection as well. Now watching for signs of diabetes and the rare MIS-C complication may send me straight over the edge. I hate Covid and I hate those who refuse to help end it. Sorry, this just made me a little emotional. 🙁

    • gruey says:

      I’m so sorry and I think you have every right to scream as loud as you want about this. I pray your kids don’t have any lingering issues—it seems that many don’t. This is an insane, society wide trauma and all of us are not ok. I’m especially sorry for families with kids who are all getting it. It’s awful.

  8. Robyn says:

    This is why it makes me FURIOUS when people say children aren’t at risk for this. Yes, they are! And suffer long term consequences as well. Don’t even get me started on the “mild” comments.

    • Coco Bean says:

      This is what I’ve had to tell people over and over again when it comes to my unvaccinated two year old (and my now vaccinated five year old). Yes, my children will likely survive Covid but what about any long term health issues it might cause? Why would I risk that.

      My brother, who lives with my parents, just tested positive yesterday (Tuesday). He is vaxed and boosted. He didn’t have symptoms yet but tested because someone at work tested positive. My Mom, who is also vaxed/boosted, helped watch my kids Monday because we are moving next week. I am trying to stay calm but I really hope my parents are ok and my kids weren’t exposed. My cousin, vaxed/boosted, and her 10 month old also tested positive yesterday. My husband’s cousin, who was not vaccinated, was in the ICU last week and doctors made the decision to deliver her baby 3 months early because her blood oxygen was tanking and baby was in distress. They are both doing better now but what an awful last week it has been with all of us on edge. I am so over this awful pandemic and everyone that chooses not to get vaccinated.

      • Soapboxpudding says:

        Oh my, I’m sorry you’ve got so much on your plate Coco Bean. I hope everyone makes it through okay.

    • LaraW” says:

      Don’t worry Robyn. I’m sure the Republican media machine are working very hard to discredit this study. And the GoFundMe requests from evangelical prayer warriors will instead of asking for donations to cover medical and funeral costs be asking for donations to cover the cost of insulin. Ask, and ye shall find.

      Though I do wonder what fresh hell the Republican base will come up with to “cure” and/or “prevent” the diabetes. The ivermectin came out of left field.

      • Robyn says:

        It’s not just this study, and it’s not just Republicans. The attitude that kids are somehow immune or will recover just fine, that’s it’s “mild” or just like the flu, or the 99% survival rate bandied about is so stepped in privilege and ableism it makes my blood boil.

    • Lucille says:

      To be fair this is the case for almost any viral infection. This isn’t limited to COVID. There just wasn’t any awareness before COVID. I’m actually very surprised by how unaware people were of long term effects of infections before COVID.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      I immediately get so angry at the young moms I see out in stores with their kids who are old enough to wear masks but all are unmasked. Then I feel sad for the kids and hope they don’t contract it…it’s just not normal for mammals to not protect their young. What is wrong with people?

  9. Jay says:

    Yikes. I feel like an outlier these days, still thinking schools should be closed right now instead of sending children back without enough protection and lacking tests. Our provincial government in all of their wisdom decided that they will just stop reporting cases in schools and daycares – problem solved!

    • Size Does Matter says:

      Agree! Why don’t we close schools now for two or three weeks and extend that time into the summer?

      • Twin falls says:

        Because in the US, schools are child care whether we like to admit it or not and for families that need childcare, in the summer there are summer schools, camps and other programs in place so that children can be looked after while their parents work. Pulling children from school, sending them home for three weeks, is three weeks of at least one adult (and maybe the only adult in the house), not being able to work.

  10. Anne says:

    I have two friends who told me their child’s Type 1 diabetes was triggered by a viral infection. This is pre-Covid. I’ve done zero reading regarding any connection so it might not actually exist but it’s not a new idea.

    • Sarah says:

      You’re right. A viral illness can be the trigger for autoimmune disease in general including Type 1 diabetes. I think the issue with Covid is that so many people will get it that we might see a wave of autoimmune diseases after of all kinds.

      I had influenza a few years ago and developed asthma after. That really sucked.

    • Twin falls says:

      My father had the flu as an adult and it caused him to develop type 1 diabetes. He’s now in his 70s and still diabetic. It didn’t “clear up”.

    • Pamplemousse says:

      Same, the two year old daughter of a good friend of ours developed diabetes after a viral infection and her doctors are fairly sure they’re connected.

  11. Mina_Esq says:

    OMG this is a nightmare! I remember my doctor friend saying to my idiot friend (who to this day refuses to take the pandemic seriously) that, “all is well until our kids start filling up the ICU”. And that’s exactly what’s starting to happen now. This makes me so upset. And scared. And sad.

    • Coco Bean says:

      I know of someone that works at a local hospital that doesn’t have a NICU on site. They’ve had contingency plans to handle any babies with Covid that need intensive care but never needed to implement it until these past few weeks.

  12. LaraW” says:

    Covid’s pathology is f-cking terrifying, and the myriad of downstream effects due to the hypercoagulopathy the virus induces seems to never end.

  13. Liz says:

    Type 1 diabetic for 21 years here. My diabetes was triggered by a viral infection when I was 19, I was already genetically at risk for auto immune diseases. This study unfortunately does not come as a surprise to me. I already watch my kids like a hawk for diabetes symptoms, thank goodness my youngest just turned 5. I made him get his first shot on his birthday, poor kid.

  14. Tx_mom says:

    I work at a school which COULD mandate masks (we’re in Texas but it’s private) even as cases at the school went up five-fold over one week. I don’t even have words for how I feel about the carelessness shown to me personally and to the children we ostensibly serve.

    This idea that it is a mild illness in kids is GENERALLY true but not comforting for those whose kids are sick for two weeks, have febrile seizures, and/or are covered in angry red welts. (I personally know kids who have had all these experiences.)

    • Turtledove says:

      My kid’s school has a mask mandate in MA, but stores do not. Most shops have signs saying they are “highly encouraged”. And it shocks me to see how many people are maskless in these places. Especially when Omicron is positively RAGING. All these retail workers that are exhausted because their stores are SO short-staffed, and the customers come in and basically do not care at all that they are exposing the few people who ARE working to covid with their maskless faces. It’s been 2 years and people STILL can’t grasp the concept that the mask is NOT just for you, it’s to also protect everyone ELSE. So that woman working at Target so you can go buy what you need/want is exposed to 100s of people a day and has no choice— and then these jerks come in maskless.

  15. Lucille says:

    It’s been hypothesized for decades that viruses are one of the main causes for diabetes type 1. So, this isn’t surprising.

  16. gruey says:


  17. Nikki* says:

    This is incredibly cruel news. My grandson’s preschool classmate tested positive for Covid, so he’s required to be at home for TWO WEEKS, unlike Novak Djokovic. His parents, who are trying to work full time while watching a 1 & 3 year old, can’t hire a babysitter because the grandparents have health issues and they CAN’T TRUST ANYONE ELSE at this point. They can’t keep this up, so when the day care readmits the kids, they’ll have to go back and hope for the best. But diabetes risk, when it runs in the family? My strong daughter is about to completely lose her marbles. More than 2 years of trying to protect the ones you love, when others are running around spreading it purposely.

  18. Ledasdog says:

    Thank you for posting this. This is real. My adult child developed type 2 after a severe bout of Covid pre vaccine. He is now compromised for life. Please understand this isn’t type 2 from dietary issues. This is a full on attack to the pancreas by a virus. Think of it like a cancer eating at your organs, but a cancer we can stop with a shot. Please please vaccinate.

  19. olliesmom says:

    And these short sighted maskless unvaxed idiots saying “oh it’s nothing”. Not thinking of the long term effects.

  20. Writerlady says:

    If you follow Emily Oster – the economist and bestselling author of Expecting Better and Cribsheet- she’s set to publish an article in her newsletter about this study – but she said it’s “basically garbage.” Don’t freak out mamas! I say this as a mom with a 14 month old whose whole household recently had COVID.

    • sassafras says:

      Yes. I follow scientist Twitter and many there are saying similar things.
      On the one hand, there is going to be a link between Covid and auto-immune diseases. On the other hand, Covid is going to cause people to seek medical treatment and then other are going to be diagnosed earlier. Covid won’t necessarily cause all those things.

      Here’s another bright (?) side; the research of using mRNA to treat T1 diabetes is going really well. If Covid does impact the pancreas, in a few years we’re probably going to be able to fix the pancreas with mRNA.

      A global pandemic is going to bring a tsunami of new medical treatments for tons of conditions. We just have to all get through it as best we can.

      • NotSoSocialB says:

        Thanks for this statement. I’m going to hang onto it until this pandemic settles down; it’s encouraging.

    • pottymouth pup says:

      It’s not garbage but people are running wild in their interpretation without acknowledging the limitations of the data & ignoring things that confound the ability to analyze with as a direct assessment of causality.

      There is data that COVID attacks the insulin-producing structures in the pancreas

      The data in children is similar to what’s been reported in adults

      BUT there’s a lot of data (including lab data) that’s not available to assess the reports/diagnosis

      based on this data, you can’t rightly determine if COVID is the causative agent leading to development of diabetes, if there was already an undiagnosed underlying condition that was just exposed earlier because people were paying more attention post COVID infection and/or if the patient was already at risk and the stress from the infection was the final trigger for the condition (illness/infection is known to stress the body and lead to discovery of other underlying, undetected co-morbidities).

      That said, the data is a signal that’s being investigated (as it should be) so if you or your child are more than a month out post recovery from COVID and you notice increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss and/or blurred vision, you should follow up with your physician.

    • Sigmund says:

      Please remember that Oster is NOT a doctor, she is an ECONOMIST. Everything she says should be taken in that context.

      • Tootsie McJingle says:

        She is also a “parenting expert”. I dunno. I just have a hard time trusting someone who makes money off of telling me how to be a better parent.

    • morgfunk says:

      Emily Oster is an economist, she has no business IMHO, wading into the territory that’s her speciality, which is pretending to be some kind of medical expert on pregnancy and parenting. She can crunch numbers good for her, in the end that means nothing, you can make all types of statistics and graphs and charts, keep crunching the data until it’s “safe.” I really don’t like her obviously and I think it’s insane that people listen to her word as the gospel as much as they do.

      • Writerlady says:

        @morgfunk Obviously she’s not a medical professional by any means. I’m only trying to point people towards an account/person that is offering a different take on this in an effort to quell parents’ anxiety.

    • tatannelise says:

      I know a kid who developed T1D a few months after the whole family got Covid. I don’t think it’s garbage. Obviously, no one is at fault if their kid gets Covid or T1D.

  21. Gab says:

    I follow this Professor and she has a more optimistic take on this study:

  22. FuefinaWG says:

    @Hecate (and for anyone else interested): Scientists in Canada are researching stem cells to eradicate Diabetes. It’s unclear, right now, if Type 2 Diabetes (which can usually be controlled through diet and exercise) is included in the study. For those of us with Type 1 (where the pancreas no longer produces the proper amount of insulin) this is exciting news (like the first successful heart transplant.)

  23. Gemgirlaaa says:

    If your kids are drinking a lot of water or have to go to the bathroom ALL the time have them checked out. It’s a pretty simple lab test.
    My housekeepers caught covid (before vaccines were available) and now their son has just been diagnosed with Type 1. They thought the kids were in the clear from covid, but the doctor told them the same thing – a viral infection likely caused his pancreas to stop functioning.
    No family history – and worse they were ignored by their doctors. Their son very nearly died and was in the ICU to save his life.

  24. Ana says:

    My father got type 2 Diabetes after covid last march. He was genetically at risk, but he always took care of his health, he walks for an hour every day for exercise and was at an optimum BMI. Never exhibited any symptoms. Myself I developed hypertension after covid (doctor referred me to another Dr because he says I am too young for that). At the time we had it, there was no vaccine in our country.
    I am worried and anxious because doctors don’t really seem to know what’s going on and many times dismiss anecdotal evidence and don’t look into those “clues” that would perhaps save people from early onset of other illnesses.

  25. Case says:

    You know, I saw an OpEd by a doctor recently talking about how we shouldn’t compare COVID to the flu — we should compare it to AIDS, because it has the ability to impact every organ in the body.

    I realize this variant is relatively mild for many vaccinated folks, and that’s great. But there is NOT enough energy or concern around long COVID or long-term effects of the virus that we’re still discovering. This is a novel virus we still are learning about daily. It is not a small deal.

  26. AM says:

    My 12 year old was diagnosed type 1 diabetes this summer. He didn’t have Covid but did get vaccinated. Type 1 Diabetes is an auto immune disease, and something about Covid/Covid vax triggered him. Doctors said he was genetically predisposed to an autoimmune condition and it would have shown up at some point. I want parents to know to get ketone strips and test your child if they seem sick. We saw an urgent care Dr who misinterpreted the symptoms and he ended up in the PICU. Ketone strips are an easy way to confirm and get medical help if needed. I truly hope this is limited to kids with a predisposition, which the study wouldn’t have been able to identify.

  27. Decaff says:

    Here in Ireland a paediatrician I follow on IG posted about this recently. Basically any viral infection can increase the risk of Diabetes and Covid is a viral infection. She did say it was multi factorial though, so genetic predisposition etc comes into play. She contacted paediatric encrinologists to see if they are seeing an increase here but they all said – not yet! But omnicron is the first variant really sweeping through the population here – some hard lockdowns kept other variants at bay so we could see it yet. Our programme for covid vaccinations for 5-12 years just opened a few weeks ago – I have to say I’m disappointed in the number of “sane” friends I have who have chosen not to vaccinate their children. I think people just see it as a mild disease in kids and don’t consider the impact of long covid etc Some of these headlines might give them pause to reconsider

  28. Anon says:

    Sending positive thoughts and love to everyone!!!
    Have any of the migraineurs had COVID and seen a change in theirs migraines?

  29. Faye G says:

    Ugh this is terrible. My 9-year old nephew has been sick with Covid, he’s recovering now but hadn’t been able to get a vaccine yet. I feel for all the kids and parents out there who are navigating this.

  30. Adaobi says:

    Thank you for this article. About to publish a similar finding in my center. Last year we observed a dramatic increase of T1DM among children. We believe also that it may be related to COVID-19

  31. eliza says:

    I’m the mom of a type 1 diabetic who was diagnosed at 3 years old. He’s now 7. When you get diagnosed here in Oakland CA, you get paired with an endocrinologist who you see every three months, and a team of Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE) who you can call and ask all your questions. So if you need to talk to somebody about management or need some extra sick day protocols, you can call the CDE team and one of them will get back to you within in the day. Anyway, they have been telling me over the past year or so that their case load has TRIPLED since Covid began. They are absolutely slammed. So I am not surprised at all by this news. side note: Almost everybody I know first started noticing symptoms of diabetes after a virus of some sort. It’s often triggered by a virus, but never caused by a virus, so this concept of a virus triggering type 1 is not new. But the sheer numbers are mind blowing.