The novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, is an “equal-opportunity virus” says Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, scientific director of the Institute of Gender and Health for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

It seems to infect men and women equally, with about the same number of cases appearing in males and females, according to international data.

“If the virus is in anyone, it’s happy to be transmitted to anyone,” Tannenbaum said.

But it seems that the virus might have different effects on male and female bodies.

According to new international data analyzed this week by researchers in the BMJ, many more men than women have died as a result of COVID-19, though not all countries broke down their deaths by sex.

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In Italy, 71 per cent of reported deaths have been men.

In China, it was 64 per cent, even though men accounted for around half of the total cases.

And so far, researchers aren’t really sure why.

Unhealthy behaviour

It could have something to do with men’s health and behaviour, suggested Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the division of infectious diseases at Queen’s University.


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“It’s not a variable that’s totally dependent on their sex, but rather on the fact that there are certain habits and diseases that are more commonly seen in men than women,” he said.