Not for nothing has type 2 diabetes been dubbed ‘a 21st Century epidemic’. Year after year, numbers continue to spiral upward. At the last count, one in ten Britons over 40 are living with a diagnosis – and this condition eats up a tenth of the annual £134billion NHS budget.
And, over the past decade, studies have revealed something even more alarming: scientists believe that the cascade of deadly problems which lead to type 2 diabetes – caused by too much body fat – may also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
So strong are the associations between the two illnesses that some describe the incurable brain disease as ‘type 3 diabetes’.
One study of people with Alzheimer’s found 81 per cent had either diabetes or raised blood sugar levels, known as prediabetes, which puts them on the cusp of developing the full-blown condition.
Sophia Husbands, whose mother Caroline developed type 2 diabetes in her late 50s and now, just a few decades on, aged 75, has symptoms which point to dementia
But, shocking as this new twist is, it also offers a potentially game-changing opportunity to prevent the brain disease for the first time – by tackling type 2 diabetes early. And it opens the door to potential new treatments for dementia, too. Studies have found cheap diabetes drugs could be used for Alzheimer’s, and may even slow the progress of disease.
The science is still in its early stages, but it could be revolutionary because of the huge numbers it may benefit. At present, Alzheimer’s drugs only manage symptoms, and in a limited way slightly slow disease progression.
But researchers now think of dementia as part of the spectrum of illnesses linked to metabolic disease – an umbrella term often used to describe the triad of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which commonly occur together and are inextricably linked, each exacerbating the other.
That means, suddenly, there may be a more obvious way to prevent and treat it. And it could be as easy as losing weight and eating healthily.
‘Thinking about dementia as a metabolic disease shows a clear way forward,’ says Dr Ivan Koychev, senior clinical researcher in dementia at the University of Oxford. ‘While the term type 3 diabetes is a bit simplistic, there’s little doubt conditions such as diabetes make the dementia process worse.’
Dr Koychev is clear we can all take steps to mitigate this risk, and it is vital to think ahead. ‘Given the whole dementia process starts ten to 15 years before the first symptoms emerge, we need to start controlling these factors in middle age,’ he says.
Family heartbreak: Sophia’s parents Caroline, centre, and Wilson, who died with Alzheimer’s 14 years ago, far right. ‘It was very hard – we were very close’, said Sophia
‘Prevent diabetes and metabolic disease and you might also prevent dementia.’
As Stephen Wharton, professor of neuropathology at Sheffield University, puts it: ‘So far we’ve focused on finding a cure for dementia, which is great. But another way of looking at it is to say, “Don’t have heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Instead, control your weight, don’t smoke and have a good diet.”’
The mechanism linking vascular dementia, a less common form of the disease that occurs due to problems with blood flow to the brain, and metabolic disease, including diabetes, is well established. High blood pressure, which often features with these conditions, places more force on the artery walls, making them stiff.
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This makes it hard for oxygen-rich blood to flow freely through the small blood vessels into the brain. If brain cells receive fewer essential nutrients, they eventually die off, causing problems with memory and normal thinking. Blockages can also trigger mini-strokes, causing further damage.
The link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, however, was found by studying brain cells. To understand this, it’s important to understand how type 2 diabetes works.
In those who suffer from the condition, it’s believed that weight gain and inactivity leads to fat accumulating in the liver and pancreas. This, in turn, affects production of the hormone insulin.
Normally, when we eat foods containing carbohydrates, they’re broken down into single molecules of sugar – usually glucose – during digestion and these molecules are absorbed into the blood.
At the same time, insulin is released by the pancreas, and the hormone helps move glucose from the blood and into cells, where it’s used for energy. But fat in the liver blocks the signalling that leads to the release of insulin and, without sufficient insulin, the body’s cells can’t take up glucose.
This leads to dangerously high levels of sugar in the blood, which over time causes damage to the heart and other organs.
The body pumps out more insulin from the pancreas to compensate, and this can also cause damage.
So strong are the associations between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease that some describe the incurable brain disease as ‘type 3 diabetes’ (file photo)
In people with Alzheimer’s, tests showed their brain cells were resistant to insulin. In the brain, if the cells can’t take up glucose they can’t communicate properly and die – which leads directly to problems with memory and thinking.
But excess insulin, as is found in those with type 2 diabetes, may also reduce the amount of an enzyme in the brain responsible for controlling a substance called amyloid in the body. Amyloid can flow naturally through the body. But less of the enzyme means more amyloid accumulates, causing it to become sticky and form clumps. In the brain, these clumps, known as plaques, interfere with brain function and ultimately, scientists believe, lead to irreversible damage and Alzheimer’s.
‘If you mess around with your body’s insulin levels, which is what happens with type 2 diabetes, you could be influencing the ability of the brain to clear amyloid,’ says Professor Tara Spires-Jones, of the UK Dementia Research Institute at The University of Edinburgh.
Specialist scanning techniques show that even before symptoms of dementia appear, those with type 2 diabetes already have insulin resistance in their brain cells.
Mum had diabetes then dementia… I don’t want to suffer the same fate
Sophia Husbands’ mum Caroline developed type 2 diabetes in her late 50s.
‘She said to us, firmly, “This stops here,” ’ Sophia recalls. ‘She’d watched her mum, Janey, suffer a stroke after living with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.’
Caroline had taken her diabetes diagnosis seriously. She had gained weight after having children but she transformed her diet, cutting back on salt and baking instead of frying. She was adamant her children shouldn’t suffer the same fate.
But now, just a few decades on, Caroline, 75, has symptoms which point to dementia. She is set to have tests. It is all the more painful for Sophia, 41, from Slough, Berkshire, as her father, Wilson, died with Alzheimer’s 14 years ago. ‘It was very hard – we were very close. He didn’t know who I was.’
Sophia began noticing changes in her mother’s behaviour a few years ago. ‘She didn’t seem like herself, and would say things which were out of character.’
Now Caroline can get disorientated and doesn’t always understand what is going on.
Whether Caroline’s type 2 diabetes led to her symptoms, Sophia will never know for sure, but she is determined to listen to her mother’s words.
Sophia, who runs wellness brand Love Happy Body, has overhauled her diet and lost the weight she had piled on during her 30s. She says: ‘With my family history, I know I’m more at risk from type 2 diabetes. It’s hard not to look at my parents and see my future, but there are things I can do to prevent it.’
Dr Koychev says: ‘These studies show that the higher the person’s blood sugar level, the worse their brain uses glucose. If there’s a part of the brain where there isn’t much glucose uptake, we know there’s potentially something wrong.’
This same effect has also been observed in the scans of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Scientists can match up the area of the brain affected by this insulin resistance with the way dementia manifests itself in an individual’s behaviour of symptoms. It can be seen if a person’s memory, speech and language comprehension or movement is more affected.
But what remains unclear is precisely how insulin resistance develops in the brain and whether type 2 diabetes causes it.
The science is still being investigated – with the complicated truth being that not everyone with type 2 diabetes will develop Alzheimer’s, and not everyone with Alzheimer’s has diabetes.
‘It’s a bit of a chicken and egg question,’ says Prof Wharton. ‘Does Alzheimer’s cause insulin resistance in the brain, which might lead to more plaques? Or does type 2 diabetes cause insulin resistance in brain cells, contributing to more plaques and ultimately Alzheimer’s? These are difficult questions to untangle and both statements may have truth.
‘Either way, it seems insulin resistance is important and could be targeted to improve brain health.’
More compelling evidence comes from animal studies which show having type 2 diabetes gave them more plaques in the brain and worse memory problems. But treating their diabetes meant their condition improved. The Spanish researchers said this meant that detecting diabetes early, and treating it, ‘could slow or delay progression of Alzheimer’s’.
There could also be a genetic link. Around one in five of us carry the APOE4 gene, thought to be linked to half of all cases of Alzheimer’s. Most have no idea unless they have a genetic test.
A study by neuroscientist Dr Guojun Bu, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in the US, found mice with APOE4 were more likely to have insulin resistance in the brain. And feeding them a high-fat diet to give them type 2 diabetes accelerated the brain damaging process in middle-age.
‘So, rather than in old age, it’s in middle age – when you have type 2 diabetes – that you begin to develop this brain problem,’ Dr Bu says.
There is cautious optimism that drugs used for diabetes could offer hope to those at risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. But the evidence remains mixed.
One of the key things to tease out is whether the drugs are having a direct effect on the progress of dementia, or simply controlling any underlying diabetes, and in turn having an impact on overall health. Scientists increasingly believe the former is most likely.
One major study found people with diabetes who took blood-sugar lowering drug metformin were less likely to develop any form of dementia compared with diabetes patients who did not.
A Taiwanese study also found the drug pioglitazone – which makes the body more sensitive to its own insulin – ‘significantly’ reduced the rate of dementia by around 44 per cent compared with those taking a different diabetes drug, sulfonylurea, which increases the amount of insulin released by the pancreas.
A Taiwanese study also found the drug pioglitazone – which makes the body more sensitive to its own insulin – ‘significantly’ reduced the rate of dementia (file photo of insulin)
Dr Koychev said: ‘You could give the drugs early to protect against damage, even before people have dementia symptoms.’
Scientists are also trialling a nasal insulin spray to boost insulin to the brain, with mixed results.
There is also some evidence that weight loss alone can lead to type 2 diabetes remission.
A team led by Prof Roy Taylor at Newcastle University put overweight type 2 diabetes patients on a very low-calorie diet. Those who lost two stone or more, and kept the weight off, had normal blood sugar levels and no longer needed diabetes drugs two years on.
But, as with all diets, less than half of patients managed this, even with supervision and support.
Despite this, experts agree tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes, by whatever method, will undoubtedly reap huge health benefits – and may even prevent dementia.
With so much research into this area, what it offers now, for the first time, is hope.
Blood pressure pills and statins may reduce risk
One of the most important studies on dementia suggests lowering blood pressure drastically reduces the risk of the brain disease.
The Sprint Mind study found people with a history of hypertension – persistently high blood pressure – who brought down their readings ‘significantly’ reduced the risk of dementia or cognitive decline over four years.
Hypertension is incredibly common: one in three men, and one in four women suffer with it. But millions go undiagnosed as it causes few, if any, symptoms. And a third of patients who are diagnosed don’t manage to get their blood pressure down, even with medical advice.
One of the most important studies on dementia suggests lowering blood pressure drastically reduces the risk of the brain disease (file photo)
Age, genetics – high blood pressure runs in families – being overweight, smoking and drinking too much and long-term sleep problems all raise the risk of hypertension. Those of African and Caribbean heritage are more at risk, and it is also common in people with diabetes and kidney disease.
The damage from high blood pressure accumulates over time, so start to monitor it in mid-life, experts say.
Jonathan Schott, professor of neurology at University College London and chief medical officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, adds: ‘Our evidence shows rising blood pressure from your mid-30s affects your brain health in your 70s.’
Cholesterol-lowering statins, taken by up to eight million people in the UK to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, may protect against dementia, studies suggest, but the evidence is mixed.
Professor John Gallacher, the director of Dementias Platform UK at Oxford University, says: ‘It’s not unreasonable to hope there’s a benefit in terms of dementia risk.
‘But can you prescribe them for dementia? At the moment, based on this evidence, I don’t think you can.’
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Coronavirus outbreak spread to 929 meat plant workers in five weeks
Meat plants in the US and abroad have been especially hard-hit by coronavirus – and an outbreak at one South Dakota facility spread like wildfire to more than 900 workers in just five weeks, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report reveals.
Dozens of meat and poultry processing plants across the US have overwhelmed by coronavirus, which is transmitted easily in confined spaces with a high density of people in them.
The South Dakota plant’s outbreak quickly exploded from a first case diagnosed in March to 929 of its 3,635 employees by April 25.
Two of those employees died of the disease that has ravaged the world.
Yet, the processing plant did not begin to close down until April 12, by which point, 369 cases had already been confirmed, a fact that has the CDC urging similar facilities to take more aggressive action as soon as a first case is identified.
An outbreak of coronavirus at a Souh Dakota meat plant exploded from one case confirmed in March to 929 employees and 210 contacts by late April, a CDC report reveals
The CDC report does not name the meat plant its report describes, but the details appear very similar to those of a Smithfield facility near Sioux Falls that was the biggest coronavirus hotspot in the US for a brief time in April.
After the South Dakota Department of Health confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the plant on March 24, the meat plant did trace the person’s contacts there and tested them.
By April 2, that process had led to the diagnosis of 19 cases of coronavirus.
Following the identification of that considerable cluster, the facility stepped up its screening, testing anyone with coronavirus-like symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath.
Even that modestly increased effort in testing turned up a massive number of additional infections.
As of April 11 – just two-and-a-half weeks after the first case was identified – 369 workers at the factory had coronavirus.
Nealy 370 people at the plant had already been infected by the time it began its phased shut down on April 12, a CDC graph shows
A dozen cases had been cause to test. Hundreds were cause for closing the facility down, which it began to do on April 12.
But the closure was done in phases and much of the damage had likely been done.
By the time the CDC finished its investigation of the factory – at the request of the state’s health department – 929 people had been infected.
That represented more than a quarter of the meat processing plant’s total workforce.
According to the CDC report, an average of 67 new cases were being identified a day at the peak of the outbreak at the facility.
Unsurprisingly, the virus spread most quickly through three departments where employees could not maintain six feet of distance between them throughout their long workdays.
The infection spread fastest in departments like ‘cut’ portion of the facility where employees work less than six feet apart from one another (file)
Nearly 40 employees and nine contractors had to be hospitalized.
Two of the employees died.
Infectious disease experts believe that people who are exposed over and over again to greater loads of coronavirus are more likely to get severely ill if they contract coronavirus.
A meat plant, in that sense, is a perfect petri dish for infections, as it spreads to workers who return day after day to work shoulder-to-shoulder in the confines of the facility.
In April, meat plants like the South Dakota one were considered the driving force of coronavirus hotspots across the US.
The CDC report sheds light on how outbreaks spread beyond the walls of the factories themselves.
Of the 2,403 contacts of the meat plant workers, 210 – about 10 percent – contracted coronavirus, too, illustrating how the single facility fueled the larger community’s outbreak.
‘This large outbreak of COVID-19 among employees at a meat processing facility highlights the potential for rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in these types of facilities,’ the CDC investigators wrote in their report.
‘Factors that might have contributed to infection among employees at this facility include high employee density in work and common areas, prolonged close contact between employees over the course of a shift, and substantial SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the surrounding community.’
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Menopausal women may be denied entry to airports using temperature scanners for Covid-19
Menopausal women may be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they have their temperature checked, it is feared.
Temperature detection devices — used in the fight on coronavirus — measure heat in the skin, which experts say can spike during a ‘hot flush’.
Doctors behind an app for women going through say hot flushes could be mistaken for having a fever — a tell-tale symptom of Covid-19.
Dr Ornella Cappellari, of Meg’s Menopause, said: ‘It is paramount to put in place measures which will allow menopausal women unbiased treatment when entering places such as airports because they may be experiencing a physiological reaction.’
Temperature detection devices, such as handheld forehead scanners being used in restaurants and offices, are not considered reliable for spotting coronavirus.
The gadgets are not accurate at measuring the core body temperature and only give a rough estimate, scientists say.
And some people with Covid-19 never develop a high temperature, therefore would be allowed to breeze through temperature checks despite being contagious.
Menopausal women are feared to be unfairly denied entry to airports, pubs and restaurants if they get their temperature checked by scanners. Heathrow has started trialling temperature screening of passengers (pictured)
Temperature check devices work by measuring the temperature of the skin, so in theory, would detect the changes caused by a hot flush. They do not measure the body’s core temperature. Pictured, a nurse taking a travellers temperature at Sydney Airport
Putting a thermometer into an armpit, mouth, ear or other body cavity is known to be the most accurate way to measure temperature.
It gives a reading for the body’s core temperature, which may rise in order to help fight illness. A high temperature is regarded as anything within the range of 38°C and 41°C.
Temperature scanners — including thermal imaging and temperature ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead — do not measure the body’s core temperature.
HOW DO TEMPERATURE CHECKS WORK?
Temperature checks are done with either portable ‘guns’ pointed at the forehead or with thermal imaging cameras.
Both detect heat being radiated from the skin using infrared sensors.
Thermal cameras detect heat radiating from the body using infrared technology and estimate the core temperature. They measure heat distribution across the body.
Portable devices also use infrared sensors to detect skin temperature changes, but do not provide an image. They measure temperature in one spot, usually from the head, and give a number on screen.
However, both pieces of kit can only give an idea of temperature of the skin, and not inside the body, which is what a thermometer would do.
Therefore they are not as accurate as a medical device which takes a patient’s’ temperature.
But they may have some usefulness during the Covid-19 pandemic for spotting potential sick people.
If a person is flagged as potentially having a high temperature, they may be denied entry to a venue. But this would depend on the policy of each place.
They are controversial because a temperature above the normal range does not necessarily mean someone has the coronavirus – they may be unwell with something else. And people have variations in their temperature daily and women see fluctuations through their menstrual cycle.
They can also miss Covid-19 patients who do not have the symptom of a high temperature, or not symptoms at all.
The World Health Organization says thermal camera says temperature screening ‘may not be very effective’ as a singular tool for detecting Covid-19.
Instead, they measure skin temperature which, although tends to correlate with spikes in core body temperature, can vary depending on the environment and activity.
The devices can only make an estimation of core body temperature by measuring heat radiating from the skin using infrared technology.
For this reason, Dr Cappellari fears menopausal women will be picked up if they are having a hot flush.
A hot flush — which can last for several minutes — causes the skin to heat up.
It starts when blood vessels near the skin’s surface widen in an attempt to cool the body down.
Scientists believe the process is triggered by fluctuation in hormone levels, which drastically change during the menopause.
Dr Cappellari, a former University College London researcher, said: ‘Most women experience hot flushes, which can cause a rise in skin temperature detectable by Covid-19 temperature checks.
‘The menopause is a delicate phase of transition for most women. You can sail through it very easily — or not.’
Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging science from University College London, agreed that a thermal camera may wrongly flag a hot flush as a high temperature.
He told MailOnline: ‘Hormonal changes results in blood vessels dilating. The thermal camera might pick it up because the blood goes to the skin.’
But he insisted that it was unlikely because temperature checks often focus on the forehead — the most clearly exposed area of skin.
Hot flushes tend to centre around the chest and neck, which are often covered by clothing, Professor Hill said.
Professor Hill added that it was unlikely any action would be taken against women going through the menopause for a number of reasons, and therefore is ‘not something to worry about’.
Firstly, if they were taken aside for further investigations, a thermometer would prove they do not have a fever.
And he said a hot flush will be over quicker than the time it takes for a thermometer check to be taken. A fever, on the other hand, is prolonged.
Professor Hill added that thermal imaging cameras are not designed to look for people who potentially have a fever, and are used more traditionally in medical research.
‘They aren’t designed or tested to do this,’ he said, adding that they are not medically approved, either.
An expert in medical imagine science admitted temperature detection devices may flag women having a hot flush as a potential Covid-19 case, but would unlikely result in any action (Fiumicino airport, Italy)
MHRA SAYS TEMPERATURE SCANNERS CANNOT DIAGNOSE COVID-19
The UK medicine health regulators warned in July that thermal cameras and other such ‘temperature screening’ products, some of which make direct claims to screen for Covid-19, are not a reliable way to detect if people have the virus.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) urged for manufacturers and suppliers of thermal cameras to avoid making such claims.
There is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of Covid-19 or other febrile illness.
Temperature readings come from measuring skin temperature rather than core body temperature. In either case, natural fluctuations in temperature can occur among healthy individuals.
Furthermore, infected people who do not develop a fever or who do not show any symptoms would not be detected by a temperature reading and could be more likely to unknowingly spread the virus.
Graeme Tunbridge, MHRA Director of Devices, said: ‘Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes, such as for building or site security. Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.
‘These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use, and not to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms.’
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.
‘The best way to protect customers and minimise the risk of catching the virus is to always follow social distancing guidelines, wearing a face mask on public transport and enclosed public spaces, and regularly washing your hands.’
They can produce wrong results — either a ‘false positive’, when someone is detected as having a fever when they do not — or a ‘false negative’ — when they do have coronavirus but are not detected.
It can take several days for infected patients to develop a fever, meaning they may not show up on the devices. Some never develop a fever at all.
Therefore, they could be allowed entry into places while they are infectious.
Considering the inaccuracies, Professor Hill believes it is unlikely venues will be allowed to turn people away based solely on the readings of no-contact temperature scanners.
But it cannot be ruled out that some supermarkets and workplaces may deny entry if the a person’s reading is even suggestive that they have a fever.
The medicine regulator in the UK recently stressed that temperature screening products cannot be used to diagnose Covid-19 because there is not evidence to support their use — and reminded suppliers of they should not make such claims.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said in July: ‘As pubs and restaurants begin to reopen, it’s important businesses do not rely on temperature screening tools and other products which do not work.’
Temperature scanners are now in place at some UK travel ports, including Bournemouth Airport and Portsmouth ferry port, and are being trialled elsewhere.
Heathrow is currently testing thermal imaging in terminal 2 and will feed the results to the UK government.
It says for now there will be no action against holiday-makers who are detected.
However, when the trial launched in May, John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, told BBC Radio 4’s Today the technology ‘could be part of a future common international standard to get people flying again’.
Professor Hill said there will be many people who disagree with this because thermal imaging is not a reliable measurement of body temperature.
But he added: ‘Many people would argue, and I’d be one of them, it’s not necessarily wrong to use these device this way for mass reading.
‘But you’d be much better to measure it with an infrared thermometer [one entered in the ear] with a CE mark.
‘They certainly shouldn’t be used to say if someone has a fever. But they might be useful for detecting people who need a real temperature check.’
Alex Casson, an electrical engineer at the University of Manchester, said thermal scanners are not very sensitive.
He told MailOnline: ‘They’re only accurate to around 0.5 degrees so very difficult to get precise readings.’
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Coronavirus US: Families east of Portland’s 82nd Avenue at risk
Portland neighborhoods with mostly minority families and crowded public housing have higher rates of the novel coronavirus.
Stumptown has become a tale of two cities with blacks and Hispanics living east of 82nd Avenue, also known as Cascade Highway, at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
An analysis from Willamette Week found that residents of this area were more than twice as likely to fall ill compared to those living west of 82nd.
The towns with higher rates are far from where the nightly protests have been occurring, dispelling the myth that demonstrations are causing outbreaks.
Health experts say that people of color are more likely to have a lack of healthcare access, more chronic health conditions and are work so-called ‘essential jobs,’ putting them at higher risk of exposure.
Neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue in Portland have been seeing higher rates of coronavirus, more than double, than towns on the west side (above)
ZIP code 97233, east of 82nd, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people compared to ZIP code 97201, to the west, which has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus in Portland, July 14
An analysis shows ZIP codes to the east of 82nd have more crowded public housing, with a population more than double many areas to the west. Pictured: Cars wait in line to be tested for coronavirus, July 14
For the analysis, Willamette Week looked at rental house density for more than 30 ZIP codes in Multnomah County, where Portland is located.
It found several ZIP codes in neighborhoods such as Fairview and Gresham had a higher percentage of overcrowded households than the average in the county.
These areas, located east of 82nd Avenue, also have a higher number of cases than some of the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.
According to data from The Oregonian, ZIP code 97233, located in Gresham, currently has a case rate of 115.7 per 10,000 people.
Meanwhile, ZIP code 97024 in Fairview has a rate of 146.4 coronavirus cases per 10,000 residents.
The Willamette Week found that this means, east of 82nd Avenue, the rate of infection is 84 cases per 10,000.
This is much higher than Multnomah’s countywide rate of 56.7 infection per 10,000 people and nearly double the rate on the other side of the avenue.
Neighborhoods located in inner Portland, west of 82nd Avenue and where more affluent families are located, had better rates.
The Oregonian data shows that ZIP code 97212, where Irvington is located, has a case rate of 18.0 per 10,000.
Additionally ZIP code 97201, which is downtown Portland has a rate of 21.5 COVID-19 cases per 10,000.
The ZIP codes west of 82nd Avenue not only have higher average household incomes, but are also less dense.
For example, 97201 has a population of 18,145 residents, according to The Oregonian. By comparison, 97233 has a population of 41,047.
That’s more than double the number of people, and likely contributing to the spread, health experts say.
Kim Toevs, director of communicable disease for the Multnomah County Health Department, told Willamette Week that crowded housing is definitely a factor driving up cases.
‘When folks are living together in a smaller house or when there’s more people in a household, it’s trickier for folks to figure out how to navigate not exposing their whole household if they get sick,’ she told the magazine.
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