Gender of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Maryland

After my previous posts about age of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Maryland, it was logical that I write about the gender of these cases and deaths. Rest assured: this time, it will be much shorter 😉

Indeed, in a nutshell, in Maryland (like in the rest of the world), women are more impacted than men by the disease. But men are dying of the disease a little bit more than women.

Note: this post was updated on July 15, 2020, to fix an error in my code!

Now for the details …

In terms of positive COVID-19 tests / cases, the difference between men and women started early in April, with the number of positive tests or cases in women increasing faster than men over time. Today (July 15, 2020), Maryland counted a cumulative 39k positive cases for women and a cumulative 35.9k positive cases for men. The number of new cases in men and women in Maryland follows (of course) the trend in new cases, with peaks in May, a decrease until now and a fear for new increase of cases now (see bottom graph, below).

Even if we take into account the number of cases relative to the population of each gender, because there is approximately the same number of men and women in Maryland (2.9 mio men, 3.1 mio women, from the MD department of Planning), women always saw more cases than men (even if by just a little bit). Today, here is the data (also see graph below):

Cumulative COVID-19 cases / 100,000 pop.FemaleMale
July 15, 20201,230.81,211.3

In terms of deaths, we see the opposite trend: since the beginning of data reporting, there were always more men who died of COVID-19 than women. On a daily basis, it’s less clear (and since I’m not smoothing nor averaging anything, it’s a bit jagged) but the overall result remains the same.

Even when we consider deaths relative to the respective populations, men die in larger numbers to their population (than women) and this is consistently the case since the beginning of data availability (see also chart below):

Cumulative deaths per 100,000 pop.FemaleMale
July 15, 202049.654.8

These observations were already widely shared, for the general (i.e. non-MD) population, in the media. There could several factors to explain that more women are tested positive than men: men could be less enclined to be tested than women, women could be more concerned about their health than men (seeking more testing resulting in discovering more positive cases), … And there are two main hypotheses to explain that more men are dying of COVID-19 than women: women tend to have a stronger immune system than men, there are also “gender-based lifestyle choices” (e.g. more men are smoking than women, and smoking is, directly or indirectly, affecting the predisposition to complications due to COVID-19), … So, contrary to the perceived lack of manliness some men express about the mask, men should have even more reason to wear a mask, just to protect them (and others) from dying.

To be continued …

As usual, you’ll find other graphs on my page about COVID-19 in Maryland (and figures above are updated with new data as they appear) and the data, code and figures are on Github (including these ones).

P.S. This post was amended a after its publication, thanks to a remark by W Jauquet on Twitter: the calculation for the relative number of cases and deaths was wrong. The code and text above were corrected to reflect that.

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