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64% males among COVID-19 fatalities in India: Why are men more vulnerable to the disease?

The Ministry said the recovery rate in the country has improved to 40.32 per cent.

Most data till date suggest that men are more like to get infected and have more severe complications from COVID-19. Studies have cited higher levels of an enzyme in men as a reason for their susceptibility to the disease. Read to know more about it.

An analysis of COVID-19 fatalities in India revealed that men are at greater risk of death from the disease than women. Out of the total death cases in the country, around 64 per cent are males and 36 per cent females. As per the analysis, people above 60 years of age are more likely to succumb to the disease.

The report of the analysis of COVID deaths in India was mentioned in a Health Ministry document published on Thursday.

Mortality rates in terms of age distribution: 0.5 per cent deaths are reported in less than 15 years of age group, 2.5 per cent in 15-30 years age group, 11.4 per cent in 30-45 years age group, 35.1 per cent in 45-60 years age group and 50.5 per cent in people above 60 years of age.

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The analysis indicated that 73 per cent of the death cases had underlying co-morbidities. It identified elderly people (above 60 years of age) and those with co-morbidities as high-risk groups for COVID-19.

This is the reason why COVID-19 hits men harder

Most data till date suggest that men are more like to get infected and have more severe complications from COVID-19. Studies have cited higher levels of an enzyme in men as a reason for their susceptibility to the disease.

One study showed that men have higher concentrations of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their blood than women. This molecule enables the novel coronavirus to infect healthy cells in men.

According to researchers, ACE2 binds to the coronavirus and allows it to enter and infect healthy cells after it has been modified by another protein on the surface of the cell, called TMPRSS2. High levels of ACE2 are present in the lungs and, thus it may play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders because of COVID-19, the researchers expained.

This enzyme is particularly present in very high levels in the testes. Researchers believe that the regulation of ACE2 in the testes may partially explain higher ACE2 concentrations in men, and why men are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Mortality rate in India much less than the global average

India has entered phase 4 of country-wide lockdown, which is being implemented to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Despite strong efforts by the government, the number of confirmed cases in the country has jumped to 1,18,447 and as many as 3,583 people have lost their lives to this condition, according to latest data on the Union Health Ministry website.

Globally, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached 4,904,413 including 323,412 deaths, reports the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Health Ministry, however, stated that the mortality rate in India is much lesser as compared to the global tally. While the death rate due to COVID-19 in India is 3.06 per cent, the global average is 6.65 per cent. The ministry credited its efforts towards timely identification and proper clinical management to fewer death cases in the country.

Recovery rate improves to 40.32%

The Health Ministry also claimed that India has been able to significantly decelerate the pace of COVID-19 spread and that it is using the lockdown period gainfully to ramp up the health infrastructure in the country.

In a press statement released on Thursday, the Ministry said the recovery rate in the country has improved to 40.32 per cent. "As on date, 45,299 people have been cured, taking our recovery rate to 40.32 per cent," the statement said.

While speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry, said that the high recovery rate suggests that the disease is curable and the clinical management protocols adopted by India are effective.

The relatively low death figure is possible due to the timely case identification and clinical management of the cases, Agarwal noted.

As of today, 48,533 patients have been cured and active cases in the country stand at 66,330.

Of all the active cases under treatment, 2.9 per cent require oxygen support, about 3 per cent require ICU support and 0.45 per cent require ventilator support Agarwal said.

Best tools to combat COVID-19

In its statement, the ministry highlighted that community awareness, personal hygiene, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and environmental sanitation are the most important tools to combat COVID-19.

"Face covers and masks should be used in public places and physical distancing should be followed. Large gatherings should be avoided. Individuals in high risk groups should stay at home except for essential and health purposes," it noted.

As on Thursday, a total of 26,15,920 samples have been tested through 555 testing labs (391 in the government sector and 164 private labs) - the ministry said.

The ministry with the support of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state health departments and key stakeholders including WHO, is conducting a community-based sero-survey to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indian population.

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