Fact Check: Why Is COVID Killing More Men Than Women?
(RightWing.org) – According to statistics being released around the world, men are faring much worse than women when it comes to COVID-19 — a virus that attacks the respiratory system. In the United States, slightly more women than men are being infected. However, as of April 4, the majority of the 3,600 deaths were men.
According to the Washington Post, from December 2019 to February 2020 fatality rates in China were 65% higher among men than among women. In South Korea, men accounted for approximately 62% of all cases and were 89% more likely to die than women.
Those statistics align with some being reporting the United States. As of April 3rd:
- 62% of deaths in New York City were men
- 57% of deaths in Michigan were men
- 57% of deaths in Washington state were men
- 53% of deaths in Florida were men
The bottom line – men are dying more frequently than women from COVID-19. What’s causing men to suffer higher percentages of fatality rates?
Gender may have everything to do with it. Dr. Stanley Perlman is a pediatric disease specialist at the University of Iowa. In 2016 and 2017, he tested mice with other strains of coronavirus. What he found was at every age male mice were more susceptible than females to infection and death. However, when ovaries were removed from the females, their death rates shot up as well.
While biology may be playing a large role in infection and mortality rates, men’s behavior may be in play as well. There are many scientists offering reasonable ideas as to why women are more immune to death from coronaviruses than men. It’s important to remember that a virus needs a compromised immune system to thrive and ultimately kill its host. Here are a few reasons why men may have a more compromised immune system than women:
- In the area of behavior, 36% of men smoke compared to 7% of women. Smoking damages the lungs and primes them for inflammation and overall lower immunity.
- Men consume over five times more alcohol than women.
- A recent poll by Reuters found men are more likely to not take the virus as seriously as women, exposing them more readily to the virus.
- In another study, half of the men said they don’t wash their hands with soap after using the restroom.
- Pre-existing conditions are one of the most serious issues for those who contract COVID-19 and are most at risk for death. Underlying health issues such as hypertension, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease are most prevalent among men.
- Some research suggests hormones may be playing a large role as women may be fighting off the infection earlier and more effectively than men.
- Women have two X chromosomes that act as a double agent in fighting viral invaders. Men have XY chromosomes and therefore may have less immunity. While beneficial in this instance, it also explains why women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases and are more likely than men to die from the flu.
At this point, the disease is still new and scientists don’t have enough conclusive evidence to directly link a cause to an effect. However, global and national statics don’t lie. Men who contract COVID-19 are dying at higher rates than women.
Until the federal government releases more details and researchers can study sex differences in a lab environment, it’s impossible to know if the cause of death is biological or behavioral.
Until then, citizens should follow the directions of the authorities, eat healthy, and follow good hygiene practices.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
Copyright 2020, RightWing.org