COVID-19 Killing Men at Higher Rates than Women
According to published reports, COVID-19 is proving to have a more deadly effect on men than women on a global scale.
In Italy between February 21st and March 12th, men were 58% of COVID-19 cases and 72% of deaths. Men who were hospitalized for the virus were 75% more likely to die than women with respiratory disease.
Between December of 2019 to February of this year, men in China accounted for 60% of COVID-19 related cases. Coronavirus deaths were found to be 65% higher for men than women.
Men in South Korea represented 62% of all cases, with infected men being 89% more likely to die than women. The trend is the same for men in Spain, France and the U.S. The big question is why are men more susceptible to this virus than women?
Cigarette use among men globally are higher than that of women and some researchers believe cigarettes are what’s behind the increase in COVID-19 cases among men. Women’s use of cigarettes are significantly lower. A 2010 study found 58% of men in China were smokers, and 8.4% were ex-smokers. A 2016 study found only 3.4% of women had ever smoked. But in Spain, men and women smoke relatively less, with men still dying in higher numbers than women of COVID-19.
Some suggest behavioral differences between the sexes may have something to do with it, as women tend to visit the doctor more often than men. Other research suggests hormonal differences play a role in fighting illness. Dr. Stanley Perlman, of the University of Iowa, studied coronavirus in mice and found when the ovaries in female mice were removed, or were given drugs suppressing estrogen, their death rates increased. He said estrogen plays a role in protecting women but he’s not clear how. “It’s hard to prove anything” about how estrogen protects women.
Read more on this story from the LA Times.
The Washington Post also covered this story.
This trend is global