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

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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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Written by Ben



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