During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to view aspects of how the virus and its crisis affect men and women differently across the world and specifically in the United States (COVID-19: A Gender Lens).
It seems that in areas where thousands have been diagnosed with COVID-19, more men appear to be infected and dying than women—although the biologic reasons behind these observations are not yet fully clear. A news article published on April 7, 2020, figures reported from New York City’s Health Department show “there have been nearly 43 Covid-19 deaths for every 100,000 men in the city, compared with 23 such deaths for every 100,000 women” (Rabin). According to the article “The gendered dimensions of COVID-19” in The LANCET, an organization called Global Health 50/50 tracks sex-disaggregated infection and mortality COVID-19 data from 39 countries (The Lancet). This data from Global Health 50/50 shows more men are dying from COVID-19 and finds that particularly threatening outcomes of the virus could be associated with comorbidities like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease. These illnesses are often related to consuming alcohol and smoking and men tend to generally participate more in these activities. Additional research is needed to accurately conclude how the virus infects men and women differently.
Sexual and reproductive rights also deserve attention and need protection during the pandemic. Resources for sexual and reproductive health services are likely to be redirected to other sources due to the COVID-19 outbreak (COVID-19: A Gender Lens). This could contribute to an increase in maternal and newborn mortality, a rise in unmet need for contraception, and an increase in unsafe abortion procedures and sexually transmitted diseases. In particular, pregnant women are deemed an “at-risk population” for COVID-19. Pregnant women across the globe feel increased worries about giving birth during this time. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that hospitals in the U.S. minimize childbirth visitors and many hospitals have ruled that only one person can be in the delivery room during birth (NPR). Care routines for prenatal and postnatal stages of pregnancy have also been disrupted around the globe (The Lancet). Additionally, there have been numerous debates in differing areas of the United States regarding access to abortions considering many elective surgeries have been canceled. This has made it especially difficult for women to access abortion treatment and clinics (Tavernise).
Concerns about an increase in domestic violence rates are present around the globe (The Lancet). In situations where stay-at-home orders are in place and there are increased tensions within the household, women, and girls may be at higher risk of intimate partner violence and other forms of domestic violence (COVID-19: A Gender Lens.). Victims also find it more challenging to find help and care in the middle of this crisis (Time).
Gendered impacts of disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 must be recognized and better understood by both public health actions and policies.
COVID-19: A Gender Lens. www.unfpa.org, /resources/covid-19-gender-lens. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.
How Coronavirus Is Affecting Victims of Domestic Violence | Time.
https://time.com/5803887/coronavirus-domestic-violence-victims/. Accessed 16 Apr.
“Pregnant Women Worry About Pandemic’s Impact On Labor, Delivery And Babies.” NPR.Org.
www.npr.org, https://www.npr.org/2020/03/30/823575358/pregnant-women-worry-about-pandemics-impact-on-labor-delivery-and-babies. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.
Rabin, Roni Caryn. “In N.Y.C., the Coronavirus Is Killing Men at Twice the Rate of Women.”
The New York Times, 7 Apr. 2020. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/health/coronavirus-new-york-men.html.
Tavernise, Sabrina. “‘Overwhelmed and Frustrated’: What It’s Like Trying to Get an Abortion in
Texas.” The New York Times, 14 Apr. 2020. NYTimes.com,
The Lancet – COVID-19: The Gendered Impacts of the Outbreak.
Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.