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Worst-case scenario ‘worrisome’ for diabetics

A worst-case scenario of 700 Covid-19 deaths on the island would frighten the public, the chairwoman of the Bermuda Diabetes Association said.

Debbie Jones said that the figure revealed by David Burt, the Premier, last Wednesday would “probably ... scare a lot of people”.

Ms Jones said: “It's so hard. We're now hearing and reading a lot about what happened in the Spanish flu and that's 100 years ago. You kind of think, how could we possibly be in the same situation? But, I guess, realistically, this virus is really bad.”

She was speaking after Mr Burt said the latest prediction showed “very plainly and simply, that if we do not follow the rules which are in place now, or the rules that will be necessary in the future, the estimation is that more than 700 Bermudians die from this virus”.

He emphasised: “This is not an error. I am not saying this to scare anyone. These are the facts, and we have seen this take place around the world.”

Mr Burt said the island had a large number of older people and that risk factors — such as diabetes — that could lead to death were “very present”.

Ms Jones added: “Probably what they're doing is looking at other countries where people have not been paying attention to the restrictions and where the numbers are going up,

“I don't know, but certainly from what I'm seeing ... the kind of feeling I'm getting is that people, on the whole, are paying attention to the restrictions.”

She explained that the prediction was “worrisome” for people who were more at risk of the worst effects of Covid-19.

Ms Jones said: “The majority of people, when they're talking about deaths, they're talking about people who are older, who are elderly and who aren't terribly well and they always mention chronic disease and diabetes, so we do worry that our clients are vulnerable.

“They have diabetes and they also have other chronic diseases such as hypertension and heart disease, they're bordering on kidney disease, so it's all the things that go along with an unhealthy lifestyle.

“It does worry us and it's really important that those people are really paying attention to the restrictions, keeping away and staying home.”

She added the association had set up an “al fresco pharmacy” at its Hamilton headquarters, with window service for people to pick up medicine.

Ms Jones explained that the pharmacy provided low-cost medicines and, if someone was uninsured or underinsured, the supplies were free of charge.

Members of the Ignite Bermuda business accelerator programme also stepped in to deliver medical supplies to diabetics over the shelter-in-place period.

Ms Jones said: “Our experience so far has been that people have been incredibly nice, they've been understanding, they really appreciate the fact that we are operating a service that's trying to keep them socially distancing. What we say to them is that we are doing this because we want to keep ourselves safe, but we really want to keep them safe, that's really important.”

She added: “What we're trying to say to people is, try to do all the things that are healthy.

“We're really trying to encourage people to drink a lot of water. [To] make water their first choice of something to drink and to be as healthy as they possibly can with food choices.”

Ms Jones said: “The evidence is showing that the healthier you can be, the better you can keep with this.”

She added association clients were also advised to practice frequent and thorough handwashing and to get proper rest.

Debbie Jones, chairwoman of the Bermuda Diabetes Association (Photograph supplied)

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Published April 13, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 13, 2020 at 9:00 am)

Worst-case scenario ‘worrisome’ for diabetics

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