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Men and COVID-19: the aftermath

The global pandemic as a result of the SARS-CoV2 virus has seen over 16m people infected and over 650,000 deaths, with men at double the risk of both developing the severe form of the disease and mortality. There are both biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) factors, compounded by socio-economic factors and ethnicity, that impact on the aftermath of what has occurred over the short time that this novel coronavirus has been circulating the world.

The potential life-long morbidity as a result of the infection and as a consequence of highly invasive critical care treatment needs to be factored into the rehabilitation of survivors. There are also many men whose lives will have been severely affected both physically and emotionally by the pandemic without ever contracting the disease, with the widespread disruption to normal existence and its impact on their social world and the economy. The implications of the closure of many healthcare services over the initial lockdown will also have both a shorter- and longer-term impact on other diseases due to missed early diagnosis and disrupted treatment regimes.

Getting effective public health messages out to the population is critical and this current pandemic is demonstrating that there needs to be a more focused view on men’s health behaviour. Without effective public support for preventative action the more likely the disease will continue its path unabated.

This review explores the wider ramifications of the disease both for those men who have survived the disease and those that have been affected by the wider social effects of the pandemic. The pandemic should be a wake-up call for all involved in the planning and delivery of health and social care for the greater attention to the central role of sex and gender.

Alan White (2020): Men and COVID-19: the aftermath. Postgraduate Medicine, DOI: 10.1080/00325481.2020.1823760

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