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  • In a striking contrast with many countries, men in India more than women appear disproportionately likely to test positive for COVID- 19, an analysis of global data shows.
  • This anomaly, experts told could be a statistical reflection of relatively low testing for the disease in India.
  • Last week, the Health Ministry said 76% of the confirmed cases in India were men.


Machine generated alternative text:Gender skew More than 70% COVID-19 patients in India and Pakistan are men. In most other nations, the difference between the number of men and women patients has remained narrow. The graph plots the share of male patients against that of women patients among the total cases SOURCE: GLOBAL HEALTH 50/50 60 50 40 20 40 South Korea China Italy Iran Japan Pakistam India Australia 50 70 60 CASES (% MALE)

Many countries — including the United Kingdom and the United States — while publicising data on cases and death rates don’t have sex-segregated national data.

However, data from 40 countries, which do share such data and compiled by GlobalHealth5050, an independent research initiative that tracks gender and health, suggest that the gender-split in all countries is roughly 50-50, barring two exceptions: India and Pakistan.

Another unusual exception was South Korea — the country that has conducted the maximum number of tests as a proportion of population — in that more women tested positive than men.

However, men in all countries were significantly more likely — almost twice — to die than women, though this data point is available for only 18 countries.

India hasn’t yet shared national figures on COVID-19 mortality rates in men and women.

Reasons for this skewed proportion

  • Experts told that India’s wide disparity was more likely due to sociological factors.
  • When testing increased and more infections detected the male-female gap would likely narrow.
  • It’s possibly more reflective of employment trends in India. Women are much less likely to be travelling for work internationally from India.
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