Why coronavirus may prove to be less fatal for women
May 20, 2020 | Farah Jassawalla

Why coronavirus may prove to be less fatal for women

اردو میں پڑھیں 

It is essential to collect information about a novel virus so that everyone knows exactly what we are dealing with. However, with this surge of collecting and spreading information, it is also very important to know your sources and the reliability of that information. There have been reports that the coronavirus is impacting more men compared to women. Regardless, Shifa4U believes that if every person, whether male or female, continues to adhere to social distancing and other health guidelines, they will have no issues in regard to suffering from COVID-19. If you need any other medical advice, Shifa4U has easy-access online healthcare services.

Chinese study

A major study conducted by the Chinese Center of Disease Control and Prevention collected data from 72,314 patient records. These cases were 44,672 confirmed cases of patients having the virus, 16,186 were suspected of having the virus, and 889 cases were carriers of the virus, but they did not show any symptoms. Those who showed signs of the disease were further categorized according to their symptoms: mild, severe, or critical.  Most of the confirmed cases fell into the age range of 30 to 69, according to the study, with 81% of the patents showing mild symptoms. On the other hand, 4.7% of the patients had shown critical symptoms, including respiratory failure, septic shock, and failure of major organ systems. According to the sample outlined by this study, the fatality rate for men was 2.8% compared with 1.7% for women. In contrast, the total number of patients inflicted was 22,981 (or 51%) for the men, while it was 21,691 for the female patients.

Explanation of this gender trend

Dr. Nathalie MacDermott explained the environmental factors underlying this difference, claiming that it is owed to men's statistically worse overall health due to their lifestyle choices. In China, where this data was collected from, 52% of the men smoke while only 3% of the women do so. Considering this, Dr. MacDermott explains that since smoking damages your lungs, smokers are more likely to not only contract COVID-19 but also suffer from it more seriously. Moreover, there is data supporting the claim that men are generally less healthy than women, because of the higher rates of diabetes and blood pressure, which makes the men almost twice as much more likely to die – again attributed to lifestyle or work choices.

However, there may also be a biological explanation that may be useful in understanding this disparity. It is also statistically held that women are 80 percent of the time afflicted by autoimmune disease, wherein the body produces antibodies and attacks itself. This, along with data regarding the hyper-vigilance of the female immune system, may explain why women are able to fight off the virus more successfully compared to the men. Research has shown the women produce more antibodies than men, which allows them to have a stronger immune system, but the difference in antibodies in male and female immune systems is mostly negligible. Hence, they do not have a significant impact on the fight against a pathogen or disease.


Based on the information above, one can decipher that the reasons why men appear to suffer more than women from COVID-19 mostly come down to women having a better and healthier lifestyle. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, and eating too many red meats or saturated fats can increase the likelihood of death from COVID-19. In addition, men tend to work more dangerous jobs such as mining, construction, military, and firefighting, which can damage parts of their organs or immune systems. This can hamper their chances of defeating COVID-19.

Nonetheless, it is important that you view these differing trends of COVID-19 as negligible and take COVID-19 seriously for what it is. Continue performing social distancing and health guidelines to keep yourself and your family safe. Moreover, if you happen to experience less serious symptoms such as a slight fever or cough, please self-isolate or potentially get yourself tested. If you happen to encounter more serious symptoms like breathing difficulty, definitely get yourself tested for COVID-19.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.