Midstate diabetic: “I could die from this virus”


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Coronavirus is destructive for all, but deadly for some.

In February, the World Health Organization found that close to 10 percent of China’s fatalities were diabetic. Those numbers keep Syracuse junior and Lancaster native Julia O’Leary up at night.

“I cannot get this virus because I might not survive it. It feels really irrational to say that, but it’s a very real fear,” O’Leary said.

That is fear is founded.

“Particularly diabetics have had a lot of issues. We think it’s related to the fact that their immune system may be a little bit compromised because of their elevated blood sugars and other medical issues,” said Dr. Dave Hoffman DO, VP regional medical director of WellSpan Health

Managing blood sugars helps, but it’s no cure.

“With elevated blood sugars, the white cells in your body and your blood that fight infection don’t operate as well,” Hoffmann said.

“So, you can imagine when we get sick, it’s not the best or easiest circumstances to fight off whatever comes our way,” O’Leary said.

She returned from school a few weeks ago to extreme quarantine.

“Upon pulling into the driveway, I have not left my house since,” O’Leary said.

But her parents come in. Her dad is a banker, and her mom is in healthcare. Those are considered essential businesses.

“Our biggest fear is that they would be in contact with the virus and bring it home. So, my mother is pretty much bleaching our house daily,” O’Leary said.

Some wish they had bleach for those spring breakers at the beach early in the outbreak.

“We know that if we’re able to decrease the spread, right now, that we won’t overwhelm our hospitals,” Hoffmann said.

So, if you didn’t think you knew someone at risk, now you do. Stay home for Julia.

“Think of other people before yourselves, at this time. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for,” O’Leary said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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