Man vs. the Pandemic: Mortality Rates and Influencing Their Health

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After more than a year since the global pandemic began, it persists to this day with newer and deadlier strains. Prioritizing your health and wellness remains crucial, just as it did since the sudden outbreak of the virus, given the prolonged battle against this health crisis. More importantly, however, you also have to be able to safeguard the health of your friends and family as well.

Despite the continued vaccination rollout programs being carried out in different states across the US, the threat of the pandemic still looms. Observing government restrictions like shelter-in-place measures and physical distancing is highly advised. Likewise, personal efforts from COVID-19 testing to avoiding unnecessary travel are also vital to keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Weighing the Odds

The fact of the matter is that men are at a much higher risk of the global pandemic than women. While women experience more economical and social challenges given the circumstances brought about by the health crisis, it’s been observed that there is a higher mortality rate among men. This fact can be attributed to various factors.

Perceived Risks

For the most part, many articles have been published highlighting the case that men are a lot less likely to believe that the coronavirus will significantly affect their health. This leads them to deviate from the suggested safety guidelines like the wearing of face masks. Additionally, men who are more likely to assert a very traditionally masculine image turn down vaccinations easily.

According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the vaccination rollout, it was observed that only approximately 40% of those who were inoculated during the first few months were men. This same trend is being reported again as people are beginning to line up for their second doses.

The Body’s Response

Another aspect that’s being looked into in determining why men have an increased risk of death against the coronavirus is their biological difference, particularly how their immune systems respond once confirmed to have contracted the virus. Medical samples were gathered from both sexes — whether healthy or infected — through nasal swabs, saliva, and blood tests. There were no sex differences observed in the nasal swab and saliva, but blood samples showed something else.

It was found that males had more abundant levels of cytokines, which are among the first molecules that aid the immune cells in responding to invading pathogens. Larger quantities of these molecules can prove to be detrimental to the body. Moreover, men were also found to have fewer T cells, which are essential for eliminating the virus from their system.

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Targeted Policies

There are also specific gaps in governmental policies that contributed to the increased mortality rate in men, especially considering the angles of socioeconomic background and access to public health. Among men, the subgroups of Black and Hispanic men had the highest rates of mortality from the global pandemic.

In this regard, more comprehensive health and vaccination programs targeted towards men included in these communities should be promoted. Bolstering efforts to counter disinformation through more communication channels that can reach wider audiences, particularly in these subgroups, is also an essential avenue worth considering.

Man to Man

With this, drastic changes need to be made to significantly reduce the mortality rates of men concerning the global pandemic. One of the easiest ways to encourage these changes is through you. Necessarily, you have to be more active in engaging dialogues with your other male friends and family to provide them with balanced and accurate information.

In turn, this can essentially help them inform their decisions, perceptions, and practices regarding vaccinations and other behaviors necessary for the pandemic. Likewise, you could also push them to adopt healthier lifestyles that are appropriate to the current circumstances.

Invite them to work out with you, whether physically — with proper social distancing — or virtually. Help them practice good self-care through various means like meditation, fishing, or even gardening. Through all of this, you also give them a chance to stay connected with you. That is extremely important given the isolation they’ve experienced over the past year, with immense amounts of stress and anxiety.

The Battle Continues

The global pandemic has certainly presented numerous struggles that plenty of Americans have had to cope with. These are indeed challenging times for everyone, but even more so for men. However, this doesn’t necessarily entail that men’s health should be prioritized over women’s. It’s simply important to acknowledge these evident differences.

Everyone’s health is of utmost importance. Nonetheless, you also have a significant role to play in being able to guarantee your safety and influence the health of others around you — especially other men.

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