Men are getting sicker, dying more often of covid-19, Spain data shows

27 Mar, 2020

Pneumonia cases, hospitalizations, ICU visits, deaths and even basic symptoms were more frequent in males.


The data arriving from Spain, combined with similar findings from other countries with large outbreaks, such as Italy, China and France, are increasingly suggesting that the top risk group for the novel coronavirus is not simply older adults, but older men. A Washington Post analysis of U.S. deaths so far also found that nearly 60 percent of deaths, in cases where a gender could be identified, were male.

The Spain data, based on an analysis of 20,648 cases so far and 722 deaths by the country‚Äôs Institute of Health Carlos III, a national public health agency, delivers a new level of detail. It shows that men are faring worse on multiple metrics for the disease.

Among gender-identified disease cases, men make up 60 percent of those that progress to the dangerous pneumonia stage. They make up 59 percent of the hospitalizations, 72 percent of the intensive care unit admissions and 65 percent of the deaths.

The gender divide shows up early, according to Spanish health officials. Men exhibit more of the initial symptoms: fever, cough and trouble breathing. And that carries through the course of sickness: Men progress more often to pneumonia, and have more cases of acute respiratory distress syndrome and more kidney failures.