COVID-19: Men twice more likely to die than women

Men are twice more likely to die in hospital of coronavirus than women, the largest ever study of Covid-19 risks found.

Researchers from University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) analysed 17.4 million patient records, and found that being black or obese also increases the risk substantially.

The data showed black people were 1.7 times more likely to die than white people, and that Asian people were 1.6 times more likely to die.

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The study had similar findings to research from the Office for National Statistics published yesterday, which also showed higher risk in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME).

According to the research, one possibility is that people from black minority ethnic groups have higher rates of things like obesity or diabetes or high blood pressure, and that this is contributing to their risk of dying from Covid-19.

‘The research looked at people’s underlying health conditions when establishing differences in risk for various groups. What we saw was that while these clinical factors explained a small part of the excess death risk among these groups, it was only a small part of the explanation.’

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The study found that men were 1.99 times as likely to die in hospital of Covid-19 as women, and that the risk increased with age independently of the fact that people tend to develop more health conditions as they get older.

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People in their sixties were twice as likely to die as those in their fifties, the data showed. For those in their seventies, the risk increased fivefold, and for the over-80s it was 12 times as high.

The risk from obesity also increased as people became heavier. University of Oxford co-lead, Ben Goldacre, said the study should provide ‘actionable insights’ for policymakers, potentially to make judgements about lockdown.