Men make up a disproportionately large share of U.S. COVID-19 deaths, accounting for 54.4 percent of fatal virus cases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The sex split is even starker in New York City, where men make of 57.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths, according the city Department of Health.
This despite men comprising only 49.3 percent of the U.S. population and just 47.7 percent of national COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC.
Some experts attribute the trend to men’s generally less healthy lifestyles and hesitancy to seek medical care.
“It’s most likely a reflection of lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking,” said Dr. Jessica Justman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. And “women are far more likely to go in for doctor’s appointments than men are.”
She added, “I have a hunch that women are more likely to present with COVID symptoms at an earlier stage than men do.”
That is, if a man with COVID waits until it’s very serious, then goes into the emergency room, he’s “less likely” to survive than had he sought care sooner.
Other contributing factors to higher male mortality could include women’s relatively higher rate of vaccination, Justman said. According to CDC data, 62.9 percent of American women are fully-vaccinated, versus 58.7 percent of men.
There are also possible “biologic reasons” women have died at a lower rate from COVID-19, including hormonal differences and men having a larger number of the “receptors” that the coronavirus binds to, she said.
The trend is mirrored in the United Kingdom, where men are 24 percent more likely to die than women from the virus, adjusted for age, according to the Sunday Times of London.
Justman’s message to men: “When in doubt, seek the vaccine, seek the test, seek the medical care.”