Gender differences in patients with COVID-19: a narrative review
In December 2019 a novel coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China causing many cases of severe pneumonia. World Health Organization (WHO) named this disease Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The infection has rapidly spread across China to many other countries, and on March 12, 2020 the WHO declared pandemic outbreak of COVID-19. As of May 16, 2020, COVID-19 has been diagnosed in more than 4,490,000 patients, associated to 305,976 deaths worldwide; in Italy 224,760 COVID-19 cases have been reported with 31,763 deaths. The main routes of transmission are respiratory droplets and direct contact with infected people, so numerous prevention strategies are employed to mitigate the spread of disease, including social distancing and isolation. The aim of this narrative review is to underline gender differences in epidemiology, etiopathogenesis, risk factors, clinical presentation, diagnosis, prognosis and mortality of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Currently data on the sex indicators for admitted or deceased patients are only available, but there is no analysis about other gender indicators. The data considered in our study are the only currently available in the literature, but it is appropriate to implement a specific analysis with all gender indicators to identify appropriate strategies. Moreover, the evaluation of a health service efficiency is a key element to define gender outcomes. Knowing the gender differences in COVID-19 outbreak would be a fundamental tool to understand the effects of a health emergency on individuals and communities as well as to carry out effective and equitable policies, public health measures and targeted solutions.
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