How diabetics like Tom Hanks could be at higher risk of coronavirus complications

The Oscar winner's underlying medical condition puts him in a group of people at higher risk for coronavirus complications, according to the CDC.
/ Source: TODAY

Tom Hanks could be facing a greater risk of complications from the coronavirus due to a pre-existing medical condition.

The two-time Oscar winner, who announced Wednesday night that he and wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for COVID-19, also has Type 2 diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a briefing on March 3 that having diabetes puts people at a higher risk of complications from the coronavirus.

"Older people and people with underlying health conditions, like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, were about twice as likely to develop serious outcomes versus otherwise younger, healthier people,'' the CDC said. "We are particularly concerned about these people given the growing number of cases in the United States as well as those with suspected community spread."

Hanks, 63, wrote on Instagram Wednesday that he and his wife had tested positive while in Australia, where they were seen recently taking in the sights in Sydney. He's there preparing to film an untitled film about Elvis Presley, Deadline reported.

"We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires,'' he wrote. "Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? Take care of yourselves!"

Hanks first disclosed his diabetes diagnosis in a 2013 interview with David Letterman.

"I went to the doctor, and he said, 'You know those high blood sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated! You've got Type 2 diabetes, young man,''' Hanks said.

Tom Hanks first revealed he had Type 2 diabetes in 2013. Christopher Polk

A top CDC official recommended on Monday that people over age 60 and anyone with chronic medical conditions should prepare for a lengthy stay at home.

“This seems to be a disease that affects adults and most seriously older adults," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on a conference call.

"Starting at age 60, there is an increasing risk of disease and the risk increases with age."

The CDC recommends anyone over 60 or with underlying conditions should stock up on medications, groceries and household items so they can stay home "for a period of time."