The increased vulnerability of men to COVID-19 was explained by various reasons, including hormonal ones. Thus, Cedars-Sinai scientists suggested that gender differences in disease outcomes may be partly related to the protective effect of female sex hormones, so they can be used in the treatment of men. They tried to add progesterone injections to the standard therapy of male patients and even saw good results, but this method of treatment was not widely used. In another American study, scientists hypothesized that the reason lies in the lack of testosterone in some men.
The authors of the new study drew attention to the fact that the gender structure of mortality differs markedly in different US states and suggested that social factors may play a much more significant role. They analyzed morbidity and mortality in all states between April 2020 and May 2021 using a unique methodology developed by the GenderSci Lab at Harvard University.
Scientists have found that at least 30% of the differences in gender differences in mortality can be attributed to social differences depending on the region, such as income levels, working conditions, education levels. Another 10% relate to differences in the time of registration of cases of infection and deaths. In Connecticut, for example, female deaths were higher than males for 22 weeks. In New York State, 72.7% of excess deaths among men occurred in the spring of 2020 during the first wave of COVID-19, and now the death rates have leveled off.
Many health reports indicate that the ratio of mortality between men and women is 2:1, but in this study, the figures were much more modest: an average of 1.14:1. Scientists noted that these data almost correspond to the gap in mortality between men and women, which was even before the pandemic.
It should be noted that in Russia over the two years of the pandemic there has been a noticeable imbalance: with each new wave, women suffer from coronavirus more and more. Former Rosstat employee, independent demographer Aleksey Raksha published on his Facebook page data on changes in mortality by age groups and gender by quarters of 2020-2021 compared to 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. It follows from the graphs that in the fourth quarter in 2020, mortality among men and women aged 65 to 74 increased by 50-60%. However, in the fall of 2021, the increase in mortality among men in the same age group was 50-60%, and among women – 80%.
As the expert told MedPortal, the increase in female mortality is largely due to the fact that women are much more often involved in the service sector, healthcare and education, which implies constant contact with people. Nurses, salespeople, teachers and educators – in the post-Soviet space, this work is traditionally performed by women. Another serious factor may be anti-vaccination sentiments, which are especially noticeable among women, Alexey Raksha believes. Women are also more likely to trust the opinions of homeopaths and “healers”.