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CDC: There Has Been Significant Rise In Diabetes Cases Among Children, Perhaps Linked To COVID-19

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New research from the Centers for Disease Control has found COVID-19 may raise the risk of diabetes in kids.

The agency said Thursday it has seen a significant spike in the disease among children during the pandemic, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported.

At the start of the pandemic, kids were hardly getting COVID, but that has changed with the emergence of new variants.

And there's a lot we don't know.

"Not just for problems related to the infection, itself, but the aftermath comorbidities that can happen," said Dr. Genna Klein, a pediatric endocrinologist at Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital.


Klein said one thing we are learning is that COVID has increased the risk of diabetes. The CDC looked at insurance claims from two U.S. health plans. One database showed an increase of 166%. The other data set showed a lower but yet still concerning spike of 31%.

"It's not surprising the COVID is associated with an increase in Type 1 diabetes," CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez said. "That disease develops in children who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes, but require a trigger to become full-fledged Type 1 diabetes. That's likely a viral infection, anything from a cold, the flu, and, possibly, the COVID virus."

Gomez said the study found the severity of COVID did matter.

"Children, like many adults, can often be infected with the COVID virus -- they test positive -- but they don't necessarily develop symptoms. Now, studies from the CDC suggest that even if the child is asymptomatic for COVID, they are still at risk for developing Type 1 diabetes," Gomez said.


The research looked into both Type 1 and 2 diabetes. The increase in Type 2 may be due to the changes caused by the pandemic.

"Not being able to eat as well as they were previously potentially, or exercise. The COVID weight gain might have set them off," Klein said.

She said diabetes and the risk of other medical issues caused by COVID are a reminder to parents to get their kids vaccinated.

CBS2's Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.

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