Daily reports by the NICD have shown that more women have tested positive for Covid-19, however men are likely to get sicker than their female counterparts. Picture: File photo
Daily reports by the NICD have shown that more women have tested positive for Covid-19, however men are likely to get sicker than their female counterparts. Picture: File photo

Covid-19 in SA: Men more likely to get severely sick

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Aug 13, 2020

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Durban - While women account for more than 300 000 of the confirmed Covid-19 cases in SA, men have a higher risk of developing a more severe form of the virus once infected.

The latest figures from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases reveal that 328 438 women had tested positive for Covid-19 in SA, while 236 169 men tested positive.

According to the NICD's Professor Cheryl Cohen, it was unclear why more women were contracting the virus, pinning it down to a combination of factors.

Cohen said women were more likely to seek medical help as opposed to men.

"Differential health-seeking between men and women may play a role as some data suggest that women are more likely to seek care. This is also affected by there being more women in the population in certain age groups,“ she said.

Cohen said when the data is expressed, accounting for the numbers of men and women in each age group, you see that more men over the age of 60 tend to contract the virus.

Picture: NICD

She added that it was important to note in this trend , most of the cases were mild.

The NICD's daily report also found that most of the country's positive cases were found in the age groups; 25 - 49.

Cohen said it was important to note that people in these age groups contracted a milder form of Covid-19.

"In the adult age groups the numbers are higher, likely because this group is more likely to develop symptoms and get tested because they were working. It could also be that they are in contact with others, leading to true higher rates of illness.

“The number of positive cases is affected both by the true burden of illness and also the fact that different age or sex groups may be more or less likely to seek care. It is not possible to fully separate this out," she said.

Cohen said the NICD did not know which factors pushed people to get tested.

"We know children are less likely to develop symptomatic illness hence lower numbers in children," she added.

As of Wednesday, there were 568 919 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in SA.

Picture: NICD

Gauteng had the highest number of cases - 194 685 - with KwaZulu-Natal sitting on 101 449 and the Western Cape with 100 536 cases.

The Mercury

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