NSW Health statistics show women outnumber men in positive COVID-19 diagnosed in nearly all age groups.
NSW Health statistics show women outnumber men in positive COVID-19 diagnosed in nearly all age groups.

Why more NSW women are diagnosed with COVID-19

In almost all age groups, women outnumber men, but in the highest category age group of 20 to 29, 250 women have tested positive compared to 182 men.

Sydney Respiratory virologist Professor Brian Oliver from the Woolcock Institute said international figures had not identified any gender difference for the disease, putting the discrepancy in the younger age groups down to the bravado of men.

"It is more likely that women are more in touch with what is going on in their body than men and men have a bit of bravado about she'll be right and ignoring things and you see that with a whole range of diseases so it could be more women are going for testing.

NSW Health figures show women outnumber men in nearly age groups for positive COVID-19 results.
NSW Health figures show women outnumber men in nearly age groups for positive COVID-19 results.

"Overseas, women are not more affected than men, so I suspect it is an unusual Australian thing that women know what it good for them.

He added more men may be walking around undiagnosed.

"Men don't like going to the doctor at the best of times, so they might be avoiding going," Prof Oliver said.

National figures also show higher cases of women with COVID-19 in the 20 to 29 group.

Virologist Associate Professor Ian Mackay said it was too early to identify what was really going on.

"There are often biases in gender and age group, but it is too early to know, it may come down to who was travelling, it could be those little reasons, but we also do see gender bias in kids with more boys suffering respiratory disease. It could be male versus female immunity but we need to have a closer look down the track," he said.

Figures published in the Lancet this week reveal that there are equal numbers of cases between men and women so far but there is a significant sex difference in mortality and vulnerability to the disease with men more likely to die.

 

Professor Brian Oliver.
Professor Brian Oliver.

 

People flouting social distancing rules at Bondi Beach this week. Picture: Damian Shaw
People flouting social distancing rules at Bondi Beach this week. Picture: Damian Shaw

"Emerging evidence suggests that more men than women are dying, potentially due to sex-based immunological or gendered differences, such as patterns and prevalence of smoking," the paper said.

Women are also more likely to work in the health force with more than 90 per cent of workers in Hubei province in China women and therefore exposed to more risk.

 

Professor Ian Mackay.
Professor Ian Mackay.

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