Why men are now more likely to catch COVID than women

·2-min read
Photo credit: Fuzullhanum - Getty Images
Photo credit: Fuzullhanum - Getty Images

Research shows that men are now more likely to test positive for coronavirus than women, with experts citing men having more "social activity than usual," as a potential risk factor.

The latest results from Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori's REACT-1 (Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission) programme, show that one in 170 people (approximately 0.59% of the population) in England have had coronavirus between 24 June and 5 July.

The study, which tracks coronavirus infections across England using home testing, is the first time scientists have identified a difference in the infection rate between men and women. The results show that men are currently 30% more likely to test positive for coronavirus than women, with the study noting that this "may reflect different patterns of social mixing in England between men and women."

Steven Riley, Professor of infectious disease dynamics at Imperial College London, discussed how social mixing is affecting transmission rates, saying (via Sky News), "There's lots of evidence that mixing inside is more likely to result in transmission than mixing outside."

Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

Professor Riley continued, "If I had to speculate about the impact of the Euros... I would think about the increased probability that people are mixing inside more frequently than they otherwise would.

"So my first thought wouldn't immediately be to the stadium and the immediate surrounds. It would be about the more general behaviour of the population, but we don't have results that speak to that directly in this study," he says.

"Different things could be affecting it. I think the degree to which men and women are socialising, is likely to be responsible, adds Professor Riley. "And then because of the timing of that, then it could be that watching football is resulting in men having more social activity than usual."

Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: SOPA Images - Getty Images

The study also found that the prevalence of coroanvirus was over 3 times higher in the unvaccinated compared with those reporting two doses of vaccine.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As we unlock society and learn to live with COVID-19, we will inevitably see cases rise significantly over coming weeks. But today’s findings show that infection rates are three times lower for those who have had two vaccine doses.

“It is more important than ever to get that life-saving second jab so we can continue to weaken the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths and build a wall of defence against the virus."

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