What you need to know:
- In Italy, a higher number of men have been infected, and more men have died compared to women.
- In China, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention put the death rate for men at 2.8 per cent, compared to 1.7 per cent for women.
- Being male may be a risk factor for the illness, say experts.
The Covid-19 commonly known as coronavirus is killing more men than women.
According to the New York Times and Washington Post, some of the hard hit countries show many men compared to women are dying of the deadly coronavirus.
In Italy, a higher number of men have been infected, and a higher proportion of infected men have died compared to women.
Italy’s Public Health Research Agency says men make up nearly 60 per cent of people with confirmed cases of the virus and more than 70 per cent of those who have died of Covid-19.
The Higher Health Institute of Rome analysis shows that of 25,058 cases of coronavirus eight per cent of male patients died, compared with five per cent of female.
Overall, men represented 58 per cent of 25,058 coronavirus cases in Italy, and 70 per cent of the 1,697 deaths described in the report.
The trend in Italy resembles the one witnessed in China, where men were more likely than women to die of Covid-19. In China, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention put the death rate for men at 2.8 per cent, compared to 1.7 per cent for women with the virus.
Experts say being male may be a risk factor for the illness, just as being older is to many other illnesses apart from the virus.
“Being male is as much a risk factor for the coronavirus as being old,” said Sabra Klein, a scientist who studies sex difference in viral infections at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
He added people need to be aware that there is this pattern just like being old means one is at a higher risk, so does being male since it is a risk factor.
Last Friday, Dr Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, mentioned the gender disparity in deaths in Italy, but said the gender gap was “twice” as high in men at all ages.
Demographic figures also suggest many men have more health risks to begin with. In China, Italy and South Korea, women tend to live longer than men, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to WHO, men also drink and smoke more in all of these countries, particularly in China, where 48 per cent of men above 15 years smoke, compared with just two per cent of women.
Men in these countries also tend to die more frequently from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases between ages 30 and 70.
Research indicates that women generally have stronger immune systems than men and are better able to fend off infections.
A recent study published in the journal Human Genomics indicates X chromosome contains a large number of immune-related genes, and because women have two of them, they gain an advantage in fighting disease.
Kathryn Sandberg, director of the Centre for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease at Georgetown University said other health and behavioural factors may also be contributing to men’s vulnerability.
Men develop cardiovascular disease and hypertension at younger ages than women, and both of these conditions increase the potential for severe disease,” he said.
High smoking rate among men than women has also been cited as a possible reason of more death in men compared to women.
In China, more than half of all men smoke, compared with less than three per cent of women while in Italy nearly 30 per cent of men smoke, compared with 19 per cent of women.
In the United States, the smoking gap is smaller, with 17.5 per cent of men smoking compared with 13.5 per cent of women.
More than 300,000 cases of coronavirus have been conformed worldwide with about 14,748 deaths being reported and more than 99,000 of patients recovering from the virus.
In Kenya, 15 cases of the virus had been confirmed as of Sunday. In China, about 81,093 cases have been reported with more than 3,270 deaths occurring and 72,703 patients recovering.
Italy so far has more than 59,100 cases and more than 5,400 deaths with more than 7000 patients recovering.
Source: The New York Times and The Washington Post