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Topic 11: COVID Severity in Men Versus Women

Topic 11: COVID Severity in Men Versus Women

Question: Is COVID more severe in men compared to women?

Answer: Yes. All over the world, men have been found to have worse illness and higher death rates than women. This does not mean that women don’t fall sick or even die from COVID. We all need to be wary of this virus.

There is consistent observation of worse COVID symptoms and higher death rates in men. One of the explanations for these differences is that men have higher rates of underlying illnesses such as chronic lung or heart disease that are known to worsen the severity of COVID. 

Other possible explanations for the worse severity of COVID in men are still in the form of questions being looked into by researchers:

  • Do women have a better immune response to COVID because they carry two of the X chromosome, which is known to confer genetic advantage in immune responses?
  • Do female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone support the immune system against COVID better than the male hormones, testosterone and other androgens?
  • Do men delay getting tested for COVID and seeking medical care when they are infected with the COVID Coronavirus? This pattern of negative health behavior has been observed in other disease conditions in men compared to women.


On the other hand, women may be at a higher risk of adverse mental health effects such as depression and anxiety related to the stress and lockdown from COVID. There have also being reports of a spike in domestic violence against women during COVID.