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Diabetes and COVID-19 are both difficult problems to resolve. Researchers consider both diabetes and COVID-19 “wicked problems.” Other wicked problems are poverty, crime, and climate change. The concept of a wicked problem is based on the idea that only using science to try to solve social problems will not be effective. Social factors, such as inequality, impact the ability to solve these problems. Further, the interaction between problems must be considered. For example, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted minority racial and ethnic populations – the same people who are already facing health disparities. The rise of telehealth appointments due to COVID-19 has also divided people with access to technology from those without. In fact, fewer people of color have access to technology than White people. This may mean that many minority patients are unable to get high quality care at home. In the same way, we know that diabetes impacts Latinos at a greater rate than non-Latinos. As a result, diabetes and COVID-19 are both “wicked problems” that cannot be solved with a simple science-only solution. The social factors of diabetes and COVID-19 must be addressed, and these two problems must be considered in relation to each other.

Learn more in our article published in The Lancet: