One recurring theme throughout the pandemic has been analyzing COVID-19’s rampage through the world. Surprisingly, one reality that’s been uncovered just so happens to be an objective difference in mortality between men and women.
It’s been shown that men are much more likely to succumb to a fatal COVID-19 infection. We’re not entirely sure why, but the statistics do give us more than a few clues. What can be done to protect men moving forward?
Does COVID-19 impact men more than women?
The short answer: according to the data, it does.
Interestingly enough, although men are more likely to succumb to death by COVID-19, women appear to be more susceptible to the infection overall, plain and simple.
So, although women are more likely than men to be infected by COVID-19, men are more likely to die from the infection.
What makes men more susceptible to COVID than women?
As you likely know, women have two X chromosomes, while men have only one. A recent study by Nature proposes that this extra X chromosome in women makes all the difference when it comes to immunity response.
Although this study isn’t specific to understanding women’s immune response to COVID-19, it does suggest that women are at an advantage when it comes to immune response to a pathogen.
The fact that women have two X chromosomes might cause their bodies to react more aggressively to a disease. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that many blame for their susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.
As a result, a woman may produce more antibodies against COVID quicker than a man would; this effect has been demonstrated clinically in response to vaccinations against things like the flu. Thus, even if the case is severe, a woman is much more likely to overcome their illness eventually.
Could the gender disparity be based on lifestyle?
As this Harvard report notes, the gender disparities at play here vary significantly from region to region. Where is the connection?
If previous susceptibility due to pre-existing conditions of the respiratory system can be considered as a factor, this might be one major problem putting men more at risk than women. Comorbidities increase one’s risk of dying at COVID’s hands significantly, which may account for at least a portion of the difference.
Men are more prone to chronic health conditions like lung cancer than women are. Personal choices may also tie into the data—men are much more likely to be habitual smokers than women are, which presents its own COVID quandary.
COVID-19 and sex: statistics that astound us, even today
The best way to prevent a case of COVID from spiraling out of control is, of course, to test often, or, at the very least, whenever you feel symptomatic. Find a Covid Clinic near you for the answers you need fast.