Coronavirus: Being Male May Be A Risk Factor, Just As Being Older Is

Business Standard|March 22, 2020

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Coronavirus: Being Male May Be A Risk Factor, Just As Being Older Is
The coronavirus is striking, and felling, more Italian men than women, and some experts are warning that being male may be a risk factor for the illness, just as older age is.
Roni Caryn Rabin 21 March

The Italian trend mirrors one seen in China, where men were more likely than women to die of COVID-19.

In Italy, more men than women have been infected, and a higher proportion of infected men have died. Some 8 per cent of male patients died, compared with 5 per cent of female patients, according to a Higher Health Institute of Rome analysis of 25,058 cases.

“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. “People need to be aware that there is this pattern. Just like being old means you’re at higher risk, so does being male. It’s a risk factor.”

She said the vulnerability could be biological or behavioural. Women have more robust immune systems, Klein said. And more men smoke in higher numbers, and they are less likely to wash their hands, studies show.

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March 22, 2020