The overlap of the COVID-19 pandemic with persistently rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other cardiometabolic health conditions has drastically exacerbated the virus death toll. The prevalence of chronic and infectious disease alongside large-scale public health failures have contributed to the adverse outcomes of the unprecedented health crisis, resulting in what The Lancet’s medical journal editor-in-chief, Richard Horton, refers to as a “syndemic.” Defined as the aggregation of two or more concurrent or sequential disease clusters, a syndemic attacks population health on multiple levels of vulnerability, making it extremely difficult to mitigate as evidenced by the current health landscape.
As the past year has shown, the prevailing cardiometabolic disease epidemic within the United States had a profound impact on the population’s COVID-19 mortality rate as well as its ability to control further viral resurgence. Making matters worse, the virus has demonstrated a significant negative impact on obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes presenting a challenge to come in cardiometabolic medicine post-pandemic. What experts have deemed the “impending tsunami of cardiometabolic disease” as part of the COVID-19 aftermath will have worldwide effects expected to last for many years to come and with it, a wave of death and disability of shocking proportion that requires immediate attention and solutions.