According to the new database that tracks the effects of coronavirus on sex and gender, more men are dying from the coronavirus than women. However, other details like why more men are succumbing to coronavirus and what biological mechanisms and social reasons are involved is not yet known.
Experts say that they have an international blind spot when it comes to sex and gender. The disease surveillance systems across the world have not done a good job when it comes to monitoring the effects of viruses on different sexes. The new research in this direction, headed by gender equity group Global Health 5050 and other researches, tries to highlight the blind spots regarding this pandemic. Experts say that understanding the gender disparities regarding Covid 19 can help the researchers to develop an effective medical response in the future. The problem begins with the current system of global disease monitoring that does not recommend sex disaggregation in a strict manner. If this is done, it can help researchers in the future to improve the response system. The researchers initially had a tough time in compiling the data from millions of records. Even though most countries have a data point with regards to the gender of the Covid 19 patient in individual records, when they go into the public domain, most of them become generic data.
In other cases, getting accurate data itself is a big problem in several countries, and the researchers had to manage with whatever is available online in the public domain. Most governments are not actively putting out Covid 19 related data, and providing detailed information like gender-specific infections is a distant dream. Researchers say that such gender-specific data will be beneficial for them to assess the behavior of viruses in different sexes. They can analyze if there is any difference in the behavior of the virus due to biological differences of XX chromosomes and XY chromosomes. In some cases, immunological differences have been found between men and women and analyzing such data in large numbers can give better insights about the pandemic.
Surprisingly many other countries that do not have sophisticated healthcare systems were better than the US and UK when it comes to reporting sex-disaggregated data for Covid 19. This did not happen in the initial weeks of the pandemic, and countries like the US and UK slowly picked up in this regard and started working towards data based on sex, gender, racial identity and class identity. However, from whatever little data is available about Covid 19, things are not clear for the researchers. As they see that men are more likely to get hospitalized due to the coronavirus, they wonder if the immune system of women is helping them to cope with the disease. Even with regard to the number of deaths, it is often seen that more men have died due to the pandemic when compared to women.
Researchers are attributing other health conditions to this difference between men and women. It is generally observed that more men suffer from heart and lung diseases, and this can lead to higher mortality rates among men due to coronavirus. Yet another point raised by researchers is that they think that women may not have suitable access to healthcare systems, and this may be one of the reasons for the low mortality rate due to the pandemic. Experts call for a better and appropriate global surveillance system that can make it compulsory to report sex-disaggregated data about pandemics. They say that at the global level, at least the data regarding sex and age should be mandatory, and at the national level, they can have better data with more information.
This can help medical professionals and the governments in many ways in the long run. If they notice that the difference between men and women in response to the coronavirus is due to biological reasons, it can help medical professionals to develop better drugs in the future. This will also help them to track the impact of this pandemic on other health conditions. In the same manner, if the difference in mortality rate between men and women is due to the availability of medical facilities, then it becomes a policy issue for the governments. They can see if there is gender inequality in this regard and fix the loopholes in the system. They can provide better healthcare facilities for everyone in order to tackle the problem.
However, when the natural immunological response is said to be the reason, this can pave the way for further research, and scientists will be able to develop better vaccines and drugs for the coronavirus based on this data. In the future, we may even have gender specific drugs for various pandemics and other health conditions. In general, it is observed that more men suffer from heart and lung diseases. Even this is not entirely due to biological reasons, and several social factors also play an important role in this situation. As more men work outside when compared to women on a global scale, they are more likely to suffer stress, and this can lead to heart issues in the long run. In the same manner, as more men move out of homes for work, they are more exposed to pollution, and this can lead to lung diseases. Apart from that, the lifestyle of men and women is quite different on a global scale, and men are more likely to smoke when compared to women on a global scale.
Such things can create some disparity in the way men and women develop lifestyle diseases in the long run. When it comes to coronavirus, it is already proved that it affects those people severely who have comorbid conditions. Given this situation, it is generally seen that more men are dying from coronavirus than women as they have higher rates of heart problems and lung infections. If such data is collected about all the patients on a large scale, it can definitely help researchers in the long run to find better drugs and vaccines for the pandemic.