Fṛm Đ Gardịn: Coronavirus hits men harder. Here’s what scientists know about it

‘Sex differences in our vulnerability to coronavirus and other life-threatening diseases are shaped by social norms and practices.’ Photograph: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
‘Sxdifṛnsz in ǎr vulnṛbiḷti t c’roṇvîṛs n uɖr lîf-ʈreṭñ dzizz r śept bî sośl normz n pracṭsz.’ Foṭgraf: Máʈy Horwŭd/Geti Iṃjz
C’roṇvîṛs hits men hardr. Hir’z ẃt sayntists nǒ abt it

(Transcription of an article published in the Guardian on 7 April 2020)

Ɖ rli evidns līvz litl dǎt ɖt Covid-19 pozz a gretr risc t men – bt r ɖ rīznz bạlojicl or culćṛl?

Filip Bōl, Tyzde 7 Epril 2020

Ɖ  c’roṇvîṛs crîsis sīmz t b plesñ evrʈñ undr a harś, unfgivñ spotlît: ic̣nomic iniqoḷti, ɖ vulnṛbiḷtiz v hlʈcer sistmz, ɖ fṛjiḷti v gloḅlîześn n ɖ ćaḷnjz v dīlñ wɖ sạntific unsrtnti. Hir’z anɖr iśu fr ɖt list: men’z hlʈ.

It’s no sīcrit ɖt melz r in mni rspcts ɖ frelr sx. On aṿrij, men dî yungr n r at mor risc v lîf-ʈreṭnñ eilmnts, ispeṣ́li hartdziz n mni formz v cansr. Ɖ Sars-CoV-2 c’roṇvîṛs sīmz t folo ɖ sem patn. In ol six v ɖ cuntriz ɖt, p t 20 Marć, hd sx-sṗsific recordz v deʈs fṛm Covid-19, ɖ pṛporśn v men wz hayr ɖn wimin. Fr for v ɖoz (Ćîna, Frans, Iṭli n Sǎʈ C’rīa), mel mortaḷtirets wr mor ɖn 50% gretr ɖn fīmel rets.

It’s bst nt t ples tù mć trust in ɖ xact figrz: sm v ɖ deta cd b skd bî difṛnsz in ɖ xtnt v tstñ, n hǎ deʈs r rcordd n rportd. Bt ɖr sīmz gd rīzn t trust ɖ jenṛl trend: ɖs c’roṇvîṛs hits men hardr.

W d’nt nǒ ẃ – bt it dz’nt nesseṛli rflect difṛnsz in bîoḷji. Covid-19 z mor denjṛs fr ppl wɖ xistñ hlʈ-iśuz, ptiklrli cardiovasklr or plmnri (luñ-obstructñ) probḷmz or hîṗtnśn – n ɖz r ol cndiśnz ɖt dispṛporśṇtli afct men.

Part v ɖ rīzn fr ɖt z bhevyṛl: on aṿrij, men indulj in mor hlʈ-daṃjñ habits sć az smocñ n drincñ. Smocñ z ptiklrli sspctd t cōz ɖ hayr risc in men: in Sǎʈ C’rīa, ẃr ɖ reśo v mel t fīmel Covid-19 deʈs z clos t 2:1, ɖ mel smocñret z ɖ hîist v ol OECD cuntriz, ẃl ɖ fīmel smocñret z ɖ lǒist. It’s poṣbl ɖt uɖr difṛnsz in bhevyr olso ple a part – fr xampl, cmplayns wɖ handwośñ advîs.

Yt bạlojicl difṛnsz cd wel b involvd tù. Men hv wìcr iḿn sistmz n so r mor ssptbl t a renj v infx́s dzizz, sć az ɖoz cōzd bî bactiria. Wn ptnśl xpḷneśn z ɖt sxhormonz, ẃć difr in men n wimin, r involvd in ɖ we ɖ iḿn sistm trigrz an inflaṃtri rspons t paʈ̇jnz.

Best on past pandemics, w wd xpct ɖt SARS-CoV-2 wd pǒz a gretr risc t men. Ɖs c’roṇvîṛs z closli rletd t ɖ vîṛs ɖt cōzd ɖ Sars (svir akt rspiṛtri sindrom) ǎtbrec in 2003, fr ẃć ɖ mortaḷtiret wz sgnificntli hayr fr men. In Hoñ Coñ, fr xampl, 21.9% v melz wɖ ɖ dziz daid, cmperd wɖ 13.2% v fīmelz. Hir tù it z poṣbl ɖt ɖ hayr pṛporśn v smocrz amñ men cntribytd t ɖ difṛns – bt wn studi faund ɖt ɖr wz olso a hayr deʈret amñ mel mîs infctd wɖ ɖ Sars vîṛs, sjstñ ɖt sxdifṛnsz in ɖ iḿn rspons wr rsponsbl tù.

Ɖr’z stl plenti ɖt w d’nt unḍstand abt ɖ sxdifṛnsz sìn so far fr Covid-19. Bt ɖr z olso plenti t rflect on. Sxdifṛnsz in ǎr vulnṛbiḷti t ɖs c’roṇvîṛs n uɖr lîf-ʈreṭnñ dzizz r śept bî sośl normz n pracṭsz. On ɖ wn hand, drug-tstñ hz nglectd wimin (az wel az fīmelz in animl-tsts), smtmz on ɖ grǎndz ɖt ɖer hormonl sîclz “compḷcet” ɖ rzults, wɖ ɖ consiqns ɖt sm apruvd drugz hv hd dispṛporśṇt n unf̣sìn sîd-ifcts on wimin. On ɖ uɖr hand, w insist on portreyñ men az ɖ “strongr sx” t hūm sīcñ medicl hlp z a sîn v wìcnis – untl sudnli it’s tù lêt.

Ǎr ssaytiz ofn sīm dtrmind t incurij ɖz dspaṛtiz. Siġrétmarc̣tñ, at līst untl ɖ 1980z, tarġtd men wɖ sterịtîps v ɖ rugid, indipndnt mel. Tde, smocñ z sìn in Ćîna n uɖr Eźn cuntriz nt jst az masklin bt az an olmst isnśl aspect v biznis-rleśnz n mel bondñ. Ẃl mni probḷmz v jndr-dspaṛtiz in globl hlʈ stem fṛm unḍrepṛznteśn v wimin in ol sectrz, riinforsmnt v sć sterịtîps cōzz probḷmz fr bʈ sxz.
N olɖo hlʈcndiśnz fōl mor heṿli on men, ɖe r olso les lîcli t d enʈñ abt it. Mni studiz śo ɖt wimin r cnsidṛbli mor lîcli t sīc hlʈcer advîs. Īvn ɖo men r at gretr risc v mni tîps v cansr, wn rīsnt studi in ɖ YS sjstd ɖt onli men hu hd olrdi rsivd a cansrdạgnosis yzd hlʈcer srṿsz az frīqntli az wimin. Wɖt mcñ eni asumśnz abt indivijl cesz, ɖ clīśe v an il man hu dragd himslf preṃtyrli bac t wrc n onli md ʈñz wrs z partli grǎndd in riaḷti.

Ɖ sxdifṛnsz in ssptbiḷti t Covid-19, ɖen, r a rmîndr v iśuz w hv loñ noun abt bt r felñ t adres. Īvn ɖ hîli incmplit sttistics on ɖz difṛnsz ɖmslvz rflect a fełr t rec̣gnîz loñstandñ WHO rec̣mndeśnz t seṗret ɖ numbrz bî sx, so cōzz n rsponsz cn b betr unḍstd. Probbli fr bʈ bạlojicl n culćṛl rīznz, men n wimin r ofn afctd difṛntli bî dziz. Bt untl w unḍstand ẃ, w r ol ɖ luzrz.

Philip Ball, science writer

Filip Bōl z a saynsraitr

Instroduction to Ñspel

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