Men have a higher risk of death than women if they contract the new strain of coronavirus, Chinese researchers concluded in the largest study on the outbreak to date.
In research published Monday, analysts studied 72,314 patient records from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The records detailed 44,672 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 16,186 suspected cases and 889 cases where the carrier of the coronavirus displayed no symptoms. Patients were categorized into three groups depending on whether their symptoms were mild, severe or critical.
The vast majority of confirmed cases were recorded in people ages 30 to 69, according to the research. Most of those diagnosed with the coronavirus — formally named COVID-19 — had reported “Wuhan-related exposures,” while 81% of the confirmed cases were classified as mild.
According to the findings, just 4.7% of the confirmed cases had reached “critical” status, meaning patients had exhibited symptoms like respiratory failure, septic shock and multiple organ dysfunction or failure. However, half of the cases categorized as critical had turned fatal, the data showed.
The CCDC data also suggested that fatality rates were higher among men than women. Officials recorded a 2.8% fatality rate for male patients versus 1.7% for women.
Male patients accounted for 22,981, or 51%, of the total confirmed cases, while the coronavirus had been confirmed in 21,691 female patients as of Feb. 11, when the data collection ended.
Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology, said Tuesday the statistical difference in the sexes may not be because of biology.
“It might be down to the sort of men and women included in the analysis; it might be the patients’ exposure to situations that would put them at risk — it might not be an underlying biological reason,” he told CNBC. “You have to be able to exclude all sorts of other social factors in order to be able to say there’s a real biological difference — it could be down to circumstance.”