Are more men dying from the coronavirus than women?

  • Early on, doctors noticed a different death rate between the two genders
  • Male and females are infected at about the same rate
  • Doctors are unsure why men are dying at a higher rate than women

More men are dying from the coronavirus than women, but experts are unsure what’s causing the disparity. 

In February, even before the coronavirus was called a pandemic, doctors began recognizing the difference in death rates after the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 2.8% of the men who had coronavirus died, compared to just 1.7% of women. 

However, it’s not just China. The pattern has been duplicated time and time again in different countries throughout the world, including Italy, where men are dying nearly twice as much as women. Despite men and women falling ill with the coronavirus at about equal rates, men are dying more frequently in the U.S. as well. 

Doctors say they’re still unsure why this is happening. One possible explanation is that women’s immune systems generally work more quickly to clear viruses. Some doctors say it’s also plausible that an extra X chromosome might work in women’s favor, and that’s important because many of the genes that determine an immune system’s response to illnesses are located on the X gene. Other theories state that it could be because men drink five times as much as women and are about five times more likely to smoke. 

It’s worth noting that it’s still too soon to tell the actual reason why more men are dying than women. We likely won’t see an answer to this until the CDC and all governments report the breakdown of deaths by sex. 

Sources: China CDC, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Italian National Institute of Health, WHO

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