COVID-19 sex-disaggregated data tracker

Sex, gender and COVID-19

Understanding gender is essential to understanding the risk factors of poor health, early death and health inequities. The COVID-19 outbreak is no different. At this point in the pandemic, we are unable to provide a clear answer to the question of the extent to which sex and gender are influencing the health outcomes of people diagnosed with COVID-19. However, experience and evidence thus far tell us that both sex and gender are important drivers of risk and response to infection and disease. 

During previous epidemics of coronaviruses, male sex was associated with worse clinical outcomes due to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong, and a higher risk of dying from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In order to understand the role gender is playing in the COVID-19 outbreak, countries urgently need to begin both collecting and publicly reporting sex-disaggregated data. At a minimum, this should include the number of cases and deaths in men and women.

In collaboration with CNN, Global Health 50/50 began compiling publicly available sex-disaggregated data reported by national governments to date and is exploring how gender may be driving the higher proportion of reported deaths in men among confirmed cases so far.

Updated sex-disaggregated data on COVID-19 can be found below via our data tracker, alongside information on associated health risks and comorbidities that may influence the risk of severe COVID-19 infection or death in men and women. Data is only being presented for men and women due to how it is currently being reported by countries.

This work is currently being done on a voluntary basis, but we are seeking funding to enable us to track data across a larger number of variables and countries. If you are interested in funding this initiative please be in touch at info@globalhealth5050.org.

GH5050 Data Tracker in the News

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“Why are more men dying from coronavirus than women?” BBC Outside Source, BBC News, 8 April, link

“World Business Report” BBC World Service (9 minutes onwards), 7 April, link

“Why are men more likely to die of coronavirus than women?” The Times, 7 April, link

“Coronavirus: Why are men twice as likely to die as women?” The Irish Times, 7 April link

Why does coronavirus seem to be killing more men than women?” Metro, 5 April link

“No Gender Equality: Why COVID-19 Appears to Be Far More Deadly for Men Than Women.” Sputnik News, 4 April link

Does Covid-19 Hit Women and Men Differently? U.S. Isn’t Keeping Track.” The New York Times, 3 April link

More Men Than Women Have Died Of COVID-19. Why Do They Take It Less Seriously?” Huffington Post, 2 April link

“Why is coronavirus killing more men than women?” Wired, 1 April link

“Coronavirus: Why do more men die of Covid-19 than women?” France24, 31 March link

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“Coronavirus: Why does COVID-19 pose a greater threat to men than women? Sky News, 31 March link

“Men are dying from the coronavirus at higher rates than women around the world. Here are scientists’ best ideas as to why.” Pulse Live Kenya, 30 March link

“The gender question, the novel outbreak.” The China Current with James Chau, 30 March link 

“Coronavirus fact check: Are more men than women dying from COVID-19?” Kiro7, 30 March link

“In early stages of pandemic, CT coronavirus data in short supply.” NewsTimes, 27 March link

“Men are much more likely to die from coronavirus – but why?” The Guardian, 26 March link

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“Why the coronavirus is killing more men than women.” BGR, 25 March link

“Experts explain why COVID-19 appears more fatal in men than women.” News Ghana, 25 March link

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“Bad diet, drinking and smoking could be why coronavirus more fatal to men than women, researchers say.” New York Daily News, 25 March link

“A quarter of the world’s population in lockdown.” BBC Newshour, 25 March link

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Live data tracker: sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data

We are currently collecting data on number of cases and deaths reported by sex across the countries with the highest number of cases. The data will normally be updated twice per week and we will continue to add to the number of countries and indicators included. If you are aware of data that we are missing, please share this with us as well as a link to the source data at info@globalhealth5050.org and we will update our data table.

Sources of data: data are collected from official government sources in each country. Please note, the total number of cases and deaths reported here may not reflect the current number of cases and deaths, as they are reported from the date that sex-disaggregated data was last available. They may also only reflect a subset of data where countries have reported sex-disaggregated data. Definitions of cases and deaths recorded due to COVID-19 may vary by country.

Last updated: 8th April 2020

*For these countries, these figures represent a proportion of overall cases where sex-disaggregated data is collected and reported 

**The UK data on deaths is taken from ONS reporting for England and Wales. This represents a small proportion of current deaths in England and Wales (and does not cover data for Scotland and Northern Ireland). The most recent ONS data reports deaths from the week of the 27 March. There is no data available on cases disaggregated by sex. Given that this data is weeks old, it has not been presented alongside current case data. 

*** The French data currently appears to be reporting sex-disaggregated data on deaths but not confirmed cases. However, previous data reported on 15 March included a breakdown of cases by sex and showed that 47% of cases and 58% of deaths were male. 

Please note, the male/female percentages for cases and deaths may not always add up to 100%, as some countries have a small number of cases where the sex is not known or reported.

Please note, the charts below can be filtered and sorted using the sorting within the table and the filters above the data table. If you only wish to see countries where sex-disaggregated data is available, please select this using the filter above the table. 

In countries where data is available, there is not a clear pattern in terms of whether women or men are more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 (indicated by the blue line). In some countries, there is a higher proportion of confirmed cases among women (over 50%), and in some countries, it is higher among men.

However in all countries, the majority of people dying from COVID-19 are men (indicated in yellow). In South Korea, for example, while men make up 40% of confirmed cases, they account for 53% of deaths. In Ireland, so far men make up 48% of confirmed cases but 69% of deaths.

The second chart compares the mortality rate (here taken as the proportion of deaths among confirmed cases) in women and men. In the countries where data is available, it appears that in every country, men are more likely than women to die from COVID-19. In most countries, available data indicates that men have been 50-80% more likely to die following diagnosis than women.

Here you can find data disaggregated by both sex and age on cases and deaths, among those countries where this data is currently available. The sources for the data can be found in the table above, and the data presented for confirmed cases and deaths is per 100,000 people in the population for men and women.

Chronic illnesses which may be associated with more severe illness from COVID-19

Preliminary reports of people with severe COVID-19 disease have found associations with existing co-morbidities including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some chronic lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These conditions tend to be more burdensome among men globally. This disease burden may in part be driven by higher levels of risky behaviours, which are consistently found to be more common among men than women worldwide.

Risk factors associated with higher risk of chronic illness and early death in women and men

Rates of smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol are all substantially higher in men than women. These behaviours are associated with both the risk of developing co-morbidities now found to be associated with adverse outcomes in COVID-19, and with behaviours that are intimately bound up with gender norms, and how these norms are constructed and exploited in societies.

Source: World Bank, World Health Organization