Age not a factor in COVID susceptibility, but gender may be

While COVID-19 is more of a risk for older adults, they are not more susceptible to the virus.

mature man and woman sitting on a bench wearing masks

While COVID-19 is more dangerous for older adults, they are not more susceptible to catching it, but apparently men might be.

Japanese scientists have found that the age of an individual does not indicate how likely they are to be infected by the virus. However, they did confirm that the development of symptoms, progression of the disease and death risk are all age dependent.

The team of scientists from Hokkaido University modelled data from Japan, Spain and Italy to show that susceptibility to COVID-19 is independent of age, while confirming that elderly individuals have a much higher death risk and propensity to develop severe symptoms.

The scientists developed a mathematical model to calculate susceptibility in each age group under different conditions.

They also factored in the estimated human-to-human contact level in each age group, as well as varying restriction levels for outside-home activities in the three countries.

The model showed that susceptibility to the virus had to be unrealistically different between age groups if they assumed age did not influence severity and mortality.

To explain the fact that the age distribution of mortality between Japan, Italy and Spain were similar the model indicated that age could not influence susceptibility.

A different study, however, has found that men may be more susceptible to the virus, because they are more willing to put themselves in danger and risk breaking the COVID safe rules in their region.

The Bocconi University study found that women were more likely to adhere to coronavirus policies, which could have been one of the reasons they were less vulnerable in the early stages of the pandemic.

The gender differences study was based on a two-wave survey (conducted in March and April) with 21,649 respondents in Australia, New Zealand, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the United States.

The results found that women around the world were more inclined than men to consider COVID-19 a very serious health problem (59 per cent versus 48.7 per cent in March and 39.6 per cent and 33 per cent in April).

Women were also more inclined to agree with public policies that might fight the pandemic, such as mobility restrictions and social distancing and were more inclined to follow the rules concerning COVID-19 (88.1 per cent versus 83.2 per cent in March and 77.6 per cent versus 71.8 per cent in April).

“The biggest differences between men and women relate to behaviours that serve to protect others above all, such as coughing in the elbow, unlike those that can protect both themselves and others,” explained Associate Professor Paola Profeta.

The differences between the genders were smaller among married couples and among individuals most directly exposed to the pandemic.

Do you follow all the COVID-related rules for your location? Do you and your partner feel and act the same way with regard to your behaviour? How worried are you about contracting the virus?

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    The Thinker
    22nd Oct 2020
    Women are biological nurturers of course they will be cautious.
    22nd Oct 2020
    So many models. I read this morning (Guardian) that women were MORE susceptible to COVID, biologically.
    Mathematical models are simply playing with stats, and are often misleading. Garbage in, garbage out. I don't care what the R value is; you can look at people with big noses, red hair, or who like country music, and there might be a correlation.

    I suggest that the likelihood of getting CV19 in AUstralia depends on where you live, and about 200 other factors.
    22nd Oct 2020
    I have been more cautious than the average person. From day 1 have been wearing disposable gloves to the supermarket. Take then off before openeing the car. Put on new ones when I put the shoppign away- most of the shopping I do not need to another 2 weeks at least.
    I plan on doing this for the rest of my ageing years. I have caught colds from at least 2-3 shopping trips in the last 3 years. Covid-19 has been a wake up call for me
    22nd Oct 2020
    Only stands to reason that women are more likely to follow suggestions to stay safer, e.g. using hand sanitiser, wipes where appropriate, hand washing etc etc etc. Little more compliant in general maybe? The Thinker summarised it beautiflly I think. ,
    22nd Oct 2020
    It was noted very early from evidence coming from Wuhan that men were more likely to become infected and have more adverse outcomes than women regardless of age. This was at the time put down to male behaviour pattens such as far higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption. The same was noted in some European countries such as Italy where smoking rates are high. Given that COVID-19 iss a respiritory disease it was not very surprising.

    All this latest study does is confirm that adhering to public health messaging (hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing) will mean you are less likely to become infected in the first place.
    22nd Oct 2020
    You must be joking that age is not a factor. Go and have a look at age and Covid on Australian Department of Health showing up to date data. Only about 70 people under age of 60 have died of Covid. The most susceptible age groups are in 80s and 90s. Of those over age of 60 only about 10% have died directly from Covid alone, the vast majority have had comorbidity factors. Whilst there have been big second waves in Europe very few are now dying.
    22nd Oct 2020
    I have read that people with A blood type appear to be more susceptible to covid.

    My pillars of maintaining my welbeing are:

    1. Good hygiene practice
    2.Strengthen my immune system by eatiing mostly a rainbow raw/cooked whole food (a variety of plants & veg) plant based diet that includes hemp seeds, seeds, nuts, legumes and plant milk while eliminating processed dead food and sugar
    3. Exercise outdoors in nature to remain fit and help my body produce Vit D and improve mental health. Minimise sitting (sitting is the new smoking)
    4. Do what I love and do it often.
    5. Be socially active with individuals in a wide range of ages as well as volunteer. We all need a purpose to jump out of bed and remain passionate, and significant.
    6. Laugh and carpe diem - seize the day! Make someone laugh.
    7. Nurture our spirit. We are a spirit in a body.

    We can become fearful of the pandemic. Use common sense and a holistic approach to health which includes our spiritual welbeing. That is something that is overlooked but is vital to being joyful. Faith NOT fear!
    22nd Oct 2020
    This comes out as a nonsense study. Everyone of all ages and both genders can contract the Sars-Cov-2 virus if exposed. Much the same as any respiratory virus. Very much behaviour dependent. Poor respiratory and hand hygiene when in high risk public contact areas increase the risk.
    It's what happens next that is what we have to be concerned about. The published numbers more than suggest less than 5% of those who are healthy and have no underlying health conditions go on to require medical intervention and either require hospitalisation or treatment by a medical professional. The other ~95% just may feel off for a couple of days and get over it.Within that 5% a further ~5% may progress to significant medical intervention and these patients are often those who are over the age of 70 and also have an average to 2 or more health conditions that compromise their immune systems and general condition.
    The advice to cover sneezes, wash hands and observe good hygiene are all obvious behaviours that sensible people live by anyway.
    Most people in this forum lived through a much riskier period anyway and survived. Those over 70 came into a society where tuberculosis was endemic and almost invariably fatal. We were strongly advised to avoid sneezing and coughing on others and to avoid being sneezed and coughed on. Never expectorate in public and dispose of sputum safely.
    Where I am living and have traveled to and from, there has never been any risk of contagion and normal civilised behaviour has kept the region so.
    In Queensland over 20 times as many people have died in vehicular crashes this calendar year than of Covid-19 and this have included people of all ages. We are in greater danger of dying a traumatic death than one caused by a rogue virus.

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