Data swirling around COVID-19 has been fast and furious as each day goes by.
But one concerning trend is emerging. COVID-19 appears to be a bigger threat to men than women. For example, in the hard hit state of New York, the latest statistics reveal more than 605 of more than 6,200 deaths have been men.
Recent, Past Data Show Men Most Impacted by Infectious Disease
Since the beginning of this global pandemic, the novel coronavirus has seemed to target men. According to recent data from China’s Center for Disease Control, 64% of the deaths from COVID-19 have been men and a study out of China found that two-thirds of patients who required hospitalization were men.
Past infectious disease outbreaks also reveal men’s susceptibility.
In 2003, even though more women than men were infected by SARS, the death rate among men was significantly higher than women. During the outbreak of MERS, men were infected at a rate of 32 percent compared with 28.5 percent of women.
Even during the 1918 Spanish influenza, young men died at higher rates than women.
What makes men more vulnerable?
At the present time, statistics from the U.S. on the number of cases and mortality from COVID-19 among men than women is not exactly known. But there are interesting clues showing why this virus has profoundly attacked men harder than women:
- Men may be the weaker sex in their immune response against viral infections. Women tend to have a stronger immune response reducing their susceptibility to viral infections. This protection is attributed to women having two X chromosomes (men only have one X chromosome) giving women the advantage of a wider diversity of immune response. Past studies suggest there’s something about the female hormone estrogen protecting against deadly infectious disease including possibly COVID-19.
- Men with pre-existing illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, have worse outcomes. This pattern is also similar to the MERS outbreak in which older men with chronic co-morbidities tended to have a weaker immune functioning and were at a higher risk of dying.
- COVIC-19 is more dangerous for smokers than nonsmokers. CDC statistics from 2018 found that men (15.6%) were more likely to smoke than women (12.0%). Smokers have higher rates of pneumonia and COPD increasing severity and complications if they contract coronavirus.
- Research shows most men simply don’t like going to the doctor. Men often ignore symptoms, delaying a diagnosis and treatment, resulting in worse outcomes. In unpublished studies, Chinese researchers stated that men whose diagnoses were delayed, or who had severe pneumonia at the time of diagnosis, were at a greater risk of dying from COVID-19.
- Men tend to have a false sense of security, believing they can "tough it out," or it won’t be as bad as they think. With the threat of the current coronavirus, men may be culturally hardwired to exhibit an air of invincibility.
- African American men especially have felt the brunt of coronavirus. In Chicago, 70% of people who’ve died from COVID-19 are black — even thought the city’s population is just 30 percent black. Black men are disproportionately disadvantaged often due to limited access to or avoidance of health care, poverty, segregation, living in crowded homes, or have jobs that can’t be done at home such as public transport placing them at greater exposure of contracting coronavirus.
What is known, there’s still a lot to learn about the novel coronavirus.
That’s why once we know the biological and societal sex differences of who contracted, died, and lived through this pandemic, will be an eye-opening revelation of how we can better protect everyone, men and women, from future viral infections.
Dr. David Samadi is Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He is a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City. He is regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., trained in oncology, open, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery. He has vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. To Read More of His Reports - Click Here Now.
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