ONE of the more striking statistics to emerge from early analysis of Covid-19 deaths in Spain is that it is killing twice as many men as women – 376 male fatalities against 190 females according to data on the first 566 victims. Men and women are equally prone to catch the disease and there is as yet no hard evidence as to what is causing the huge discrepancy. However, the key factor seems to be that almost all deaths are related to someone with an underlying health condition, usually people well over the age of 70.
Due to lifestyle (smoking, drinking, poor diet etc) many elderly men here are nowhere near as fit as their female counterparts. It has long been known that a lifetime of smoking for example can severely weaken the respiratory system, known to be one of the high risk factors for sufferers. Patients requiring intensive care treatment are most likely to already suffer from chronic pulmonary (lung) disease, followed by hypertension and heart disease. Diabetes is also a factor, often something developed later in life and often as a result of poor diet. The Spanish Health Ministry, which carried out the analysis, stressed that it is till too soon to say with any certainty what makes certain people vulnerable. To complicate matters further, there have been a number of “outlier” cases as seemingly fit and young people such as Guardia Civil officers and medical staff have died of Covid-19.