Ongoing tracking of available sex-disaggregated data by the Global Health 50-50 initiative and UN Women demonstrates that sex and gender are significant drivers of risk and responses to infection.
A broad pattern, first identified in China and now clear in most but not all countries, is that, while similar numbers of men and women have been diagnosed with Covid-19, men are at higher risk of becoming severely ill and dying from the disease. At the beginning of February 2021, the Global Health 50-50 Sex-Disaggregated Data Tracker included data on deaths from Covid-19 for 23 EU Member States. The mortality rate was higher for men in all but four countries (Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia). The tracking shows that the size and direction of the gender gap in deaths may change over time. For example, in Portugal, mortality was slightly higher for men in February 2021, but in July 2020, the country was reporting equal mortality for men and women, while at the beginning of April 2020, Portugal reported the widest gender gap in mortality, which was more than twice as high for men as for women (64% compared to 34%). Similarly, Estonia and Slovenia reported higher mortality among women both in February 2021 and July 2020, whereas Ireland, Finland and Hungary reported higher mortality among women in July 2020, but not in February 2021.