Why do men with COVID-19 get hospitalized more often than women?



Researchers at Mount Sinai in New York City have uncovered startling facts on gender disparity in COVID-19 cases’ hospitalizations. They studied data from 4,930 patients who were hospitalized in eight hospitals with COVID-19 between March and August 2020. They found that men were more likely to be hospitalized, to die and to have longer stays at the hospital. More men required a ventilator when compared with women.


Based on medical records, the researchers from Mount Sinai, New York City found that 25.2 percent of men were more like to die of COVID-19 when compared with 23.1 percent of women. Men also had longer stays at the hospital — 6.2 days when compared with 5.7 days for women. Male patients also needed a ventilator more often — 16.4 percent when compared to 13.2 of female patients.


Some other conclusions from the data indicated that men who were admitted to the hospital had low levels of oxygen as well as low counts of lymphocytes, which are white blood corpuscles (WBC). White blood cells help fight infections in the body. Low levels of WBC indicate the presence of infection and combined with low levels of oxygen indicate the possibility of a COVID-19 infection.


Researchers also studied an additional group of patients who were hospitalized at Mount Sinai, in New York City between August 2020 and January 2021. The group of 1,645 patients had better outcomes as the health care system had improved and more lessons on how to handle this new coronavirus had already been learnt. However, the number of men who required intensive care or died were once again higher than the number of women.


Researchers believe that more studies have to be carried but they made the following broad conclusions:


  • Men were less likely to access healthcare when compared with women
  • Men were also less likely to wear masks
  • The number of men who were vaccinated was much less than that of women
  • A possible difference in male and female immune systems.


About 75.1 American women are vaccinated when compared with 66.6 million American men. It is recommended that more men wear masks and get vaccinated.

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