News Coronavirus Do men fare worse with COVID-19?

Do men fare worse with COVID-19?

LONDON, April 8 (Reuters) – Death and infection tolls from the COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the world point to men being more likely than women to contract the disease and to suffer severe or critical complications if they do.

Here are some insights from research and experts:


It looks that way, yes.

In Italy, an analysis of more than 127,700 COVID-19 cases found that 52.9% of all infected people were men and 47.1% women. Among Italy’s first 14,860 deaths, almost 68% were men.

A Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention report found that in a dataset of 44,672 confirmed cases, there was a 1.1% higher COVID-19 fatality rate in men compared to women.

“Evidence is mounting that men are experiencing more severe symptoms and have a higher mortality rate when compared to women,” said James Gill, a specialist at Warwick Medical School.


There are still many outstanding questions around why men are more frequently and harder hit by COVID-19 infection, but health specialists point to a number of possible factors.

These include both behavioural and biological risks:

* Unhealthy habits, smoking, and their impact

Experts say one influence may be that men, in general, don’t look after their bodies as well as women do – with lower levels of handwashing and hygiene, and higher levels of smoking, alcohol use, obesity and other unhealthy behaviours.

In many countries, smoking rates are higher among men than women, and smoking is a known risk factor for many other life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, lung disease and cancer.

The sex differential in smoking is particularly marked in China, where 50% of men smoke, compared to 5% of women. In Italy, a 2018 analysis found smoking was more common among men than women across all adult age groups.

* Women’s “aggressive” immune response

Another factor is the relative strength of the male and female immune responses.

Research shows that immune response throughout life – to everything from vaccines and infections to autoimmune diseases – is typically more aggressive in women than in men. With COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus, this may be a particularly significant factor.

Philip Goulder, a professor of immunology at Oxford University, says several factors contribute to women having more aggressive immune systems, including that females have two X chromosomes compared to one in males, and that a number of critical immune genes are found on the X chromosome.

“In particular, the protein by which viruses such as coronavirus are sensed is encoded on the X chromosome,” Goulder said. That means this protein is expressed at twice the dose on many immune cells in women compared to men, which in turn could well be boosting females’ ability to ward off COVID-19.


Top Stories

Drop in new covid cases and hospitalised, 202 and one death

  Cyprus recorded one covid-19 death over the past 24 hours, raising the number of victims to 167, 111 men and 56 women with an...

Rapid test locations on Sunday

  Here are the rapid test locations for Sunday January 17 Limassol Tassos Papadopoulos Building-Technical University Limassol (corner of Ifigeneias and Themidos) 8.30-04.30 Ayia Varvara Church Zakaki 9.00-04.30 Ayios Stylianos Church,...

Low visibility on highways as bad weather continues

  Visibility is very low on the Larnaca-Nicosia and Nicosia-Limassol highways, with the network near the Mosfiloti area becoming waterlogged. Police are calling on drivers to...

Explainer: Can Trump pardon himself? Would the courts reject the move?

  As he prepares to end a tumultuous four years as U.S. president facing potential legal jeopardy, Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of pardoning...

U.S. state capitals on edge for armed protests as Trump presidency nears end

  U.S. law enforcement officials are gearing up for pro-Trump marches in all 50 state capitals this weekend, erecting barriers and calling in their National...


Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...


No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...