Men with COVID-19 Are Almost Three Times More Likely to Enter ICU

When it comes to infection rates, COVID-19 is an equal opportunity virus.Men's and women's infection rates are the same. However, once infected, men are 2.84 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit than women, and they are 1.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than women. That’s what researchers found when they broke down the information from more than three million people, 1.57 were women, and 1.53 were men. With vast amounts of data, they could see much clearer pictures than when looking at just small populations.

The information came from 44 states here in the U.S. and 45 other countries. According to the researchers, the difference wasn’t because of behavior or class but, more likely, biology. The immune system doesn’t function the same way in men and women. Their immune systems are so different that it makes it hard to pinpoint exactly what the problem might be.

Men and women have differences in almost all arms of the immune system. These range from the early immune responses to viral infection, to T cell responses, B cell responses and immune memory,” said study author Dr. Kate Webb.

Everyone needs to take care of themselves and protect themselves against COVID-19. But, while this might be an excellent reminder to men to take precautions, it shouldn’t scare anyone into locking themselves into their homes.

I don’t want men to feel vulnerable because of [this] data,” said Dr. Webb. “The findings should empower researchers to ask why we see these differences, and how we can exploit this information in the fight against COVID-19.”

Insights like this, knowing that it hurts one sex more than the other, make COVID-19 more understandable. Any time scientists can chip away at it and find out more information, they get a step closer to figuring out what makes the virus tick. In the meantime, yes, if you are a man who is already at risk, this might be an extra push to be careful. You are armed with more information. All the facts you can gather help you make the right choices for you about how you should act and your safest options.

We all have decision fatigue. At this point, most of us have a quick mental formula to figure out if an interaction or activity is worth the risk of exposure. That’s especially true for people who are at high risk for COVID-19. This new info may cause you to reevaluate your math, but it’s better to have all the facts when making your choices!

Banner image: Cristina Gottardi via Unsplash
December 10, 2020
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