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"Men are much more likely to die from coronavirus - but why?" -The Guardian


Senior Member
"Men are much more likely to die from coronavirus - but why?" -The Guardian
Trend has been replicated in all nations, but scientists cannot yet fathom the cause

t has been well publicised that Covid-19 discriminates by age and by underlying health conditions.

But it has become increasingly apparent that it also discriminates by sex, with the latest UK data from the Office for National Statistics revealing that men are almost twice as likely to die from the disease.

The trend was first seen in China, where one analysis found a fatality rate of 2.8% in men compared with 1.7% in women.

Since then, the pattern has been mirrored in France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and now in the UK.

In Italy, men have accounted for 71% of deaths. In Spain, data released on Thursday suggests twice as many men as women have died and in the UK, of the 4,122 deaths registered, 2,523 were men and 1,599 women.

So why are men more vulnerable?

“The honest answer is none of us know what’s causing the difference,” said Prof Sarah Hawkes, director of the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health.

Early on, smoking was suggested as a likely explanation. In China, nearly 50% of men but only about 2% of women smoke, and so underlying differences in lung health were assumed to contribute to men suffering worse symptoms and outcomes.

The smoking hypothesis was backed by a paper, published last month, that found smokers made up about 12% of those with less severe symptoms, but 26% of those who ended up in intensive care or died.

Smoking might also act as an avenue for getting infected in the first place: smokers touch their lips more and may share contaminated cigarettes.

Behavioural factors that differ across genders may also have a role. Some studies have shown that men are less likely to wash their hands, less likely to use soap, less likely to seek medical care and more likely to ignore public health advice. These are sweeping generalisations, but across a population could place men at greater risk.

However, there is a growing belief among experts that more fundamental biological factors are also at play. While there are higher proportions of male smokers in many countries – in the UK, 16.5% of men smoke compared with 13% of women – the differences are nowhere near as extreme as in China. But men continue to be overrepresented in Covid-19 statistics.

“The growing observation of increased mortality in men is holding true across China, Italy, Spain. We’re seeing this across very diverse countries and cultures,” said Sabra Klein, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“When I see that, it makes me think that there must be something universal that’s contributing to this. I don’t think smoking is the leading factor.”

Previous research, including by Klein, has revealed that men have lower innate antiviral immune responses to a range of infections including hepatitis C and HIV. Studies in mice suggest this may also be true for coronaviruses, though Covid-19 specifically has not been studied.

“Their immune system may not initiate an appropriate response when it initially sees the virus,” Klein said.

Hormones can also play a role – oestrogen has been shown to increase antiviral responses of immune cells. And many genes that regulate the immune system are encoded on the X chromosome (of which men have one, and women have two) and so it is possible that some genes involved in the immune response are more active in women than in men.

Sex differences in the immune response to Covid-19 are likely to show up in antibody surveys that are taking place across the world. Klein said she had already reviewed papers on this from Chinese teams, who have tracked blood samples from patients over the course of infection. “We can expect more on this soon,” she said.

Ultimately, Hawkes said, biology, lifestyle and behaviour were all likely to play a role.

But it will only be possible to tease out the exact balance when sex-disaggregated data is more widely available.

At the time of speaking, before the latest release by the ONS, Hawkes said it was disappointing that only six out of 20 countries had published such a breakdown for case numbers and deaths, according to figures compiled by Global Health 50/50, which Hawkes leads, and CNN. The latest data revealing significantly more male deaths in the UK adds further weight to concerns that men are more vulnerable when it comes to Covid-19.
Oh, gee, why don't they know?! It's time to bring up Maya Dusenbery's book, "Doing Harm, How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed and Sick."

Maya Dusenbery says women were left out of clinical trials for 30 years,. In her book she shares how medical researchers use almost exclusively male animals during their studies. She implied researchers don't know squat about autoimmune disease and CFS because of entrenched sexist bias in medical research.

The majority of CFS patients are female. "Doing Harm" says stereotypes about women have hindered both research about ME/CFS and treatment of ME/CFS patients.

There is clearly a problem with medicine knowing next to zero about diseases which affect women, examples being autoimmunity, CFS. etc.

I can run down a list of autoimmune diseases, which predominantly affect women, and I can't find one in which scientists know its cause. I tried to use the strategy of finding a disease similar to or related to ME/CFS to see if there would be some discovery or clue which would tell me the root of ME.

I failed miserably. No one knows the cause of, fibromyalgia, chronic lyme, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, endometriosis, multiple chemical sensitivity, Lupus, MS, Hashimotos, etc. either.

There are differences in immune function in men and women. This problem has only been studied recently. Research in autoimmunity currently recognizes these differences. Change has been too long in coming and apparently men can also be harmed by this.

Covid-19, is the inverse of the equation. We don't understand men's unique immune systems either. We have no answers. Medicine and science fail from bias.



wiggle jiggle
do men also die more often from flu virus ?
do they die more often from cancer ?
or is it just corona virus ?


Senior Member
do men also die more often from flu virus ?


Mechanisms of sex disparities in influenza pathogenesis
Epidemiological evidence from influenza outbreaks and pandemics reveals that morbidity and mortality are often higher for women than men. Sex differences in the outcome of influenza are age-dependent, often being most pronounced among adults of reproductive ages (18–49 years of age) and sometimes reflecting the unique state of pregnancy in females, which is a risk factor for severe disease. Small animal models of influenza virus infection illustrate that inflammatory immune responses also differ between the sexes and impact the outcome of infection, with females generating higher proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine responses and experiencing greater morbidity and mortality than males. Males and females also respond differently to influenza vaccines, with women initiating higher humoral immune responses but experiencing more adverse reactions to seasonal influenza vaccines than men. Small animal models further show that elevated immunity following vaccination in females leads to greater cross-protection against novel influenza viruses in females compared with males. Sex steroid hormones, including estradiol and testosterone, as well as genetic differences between the sexes may play roles in modulating sex differences in immune responses to influenza virus infection and vaccination. Future studies must elucidate the pathways and cellular responses that differ between the sexes and determine how best to use this knowledge to inform public health policy-makers about prophylaxis and therapeutic treatments of influenza virus infections to ensure adequate protection in both males and females.

do they die more often from cancer ?


Gender Differences in Cancer Susceptibility: An Inadequately Addressed Issue
The gender difference in cancer susceptibility is one of the most consistent findings in cancer epidemiology. Hematologic malignancies are generally more common in males and this can be generalized to most other cancers. Similar gender differences in non-malignant diseases including autoimmunity, are attributed to hormonal or behavioral differences. Even in early childhood, however, where these differences would not apply, there are differences in cancer incidence between males and females. In childhood, few cancers are more common in females, but overall, males have higher susceptibility.


wiggle jiggle
not sure... @IThinkImTurningJapanese

the GERMAN flu data are from http://www.gbe-bund.de/oowa921-inst...E&D.002=PAGE&D.003=PAGE&D.562=PAGE&D.946=DOWN

the columns with the fatalities are from the years
1998 1999 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 2017

MEN 7.534 7.843 8.102 9.579 9.550 10.559 9.767 10.333
WOMEN 9.967 11.124 10.655 12.421 10.292 10.314 9.348 10.421

J09-J11 FLU
MEN 88 141 86 103 64 343 228 617
WOMEN 151 223 181 198 51 357 182 559

it seems, in the years 2015 2016 2017 it were more men dying from flu.
before more women died.

just wondering, if its a statistical error... perhaps normally men were more accounted for heart failure deaths, while this cause of death was almost ruled out for women...
so a lot of men dying from flu may have had on the death certificate heart failure instead?
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Senior Member
Yep, it has been pretty consistently observed that men die more often of cancer and women more often suffer from autoimmune diseases. ME/CFS likely has some autoimmune component to it. The good news is, having a strong immune system may tie to the reduced incidence of COVID-19 deaths among women and people with ME/CFS could maybe therefore be better protected from the virus as well (wouldn't still want to play the gamble with it).

As to why scientists know nothing about sex differences in disease, one problem is that medical trials are rarely separated by gender, and since placebo controlled randomized trials is the only thing doctors value as evidence these days (aside from CBT/GET studies), it means there probably won't be any huge breakthroughs in this area of research until better trials are conducted.


Senior Member
Did not take long to find a potential explanation: we know the cytokine IL-6 is associated with the lung damage in COVID-19, and this study says:
Male gender is associated with excessive IL-6 expression following severe injury
I think I read something about the reason being that men have more receptors in the lungs that this virus can bind to, anyone read that too?


Senior Member
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