Covid Impact on Men #MensMentalHealthWeek

Covid Impact on Men #MensMentalHealthWeek

(Written in July of 2021)

Covid Pandemic impact on Men

At the present time of writing this book (July 2021) there have been 190 million cases of Coronavirus worldwide resulting in the loss of life of 4.09 million individuals globally. Within the United States of America there have been 34 million cases resulting in the loss of life to 608,000 individuals. Countless other people have been impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic in direct or indirect ways.

On a global scale the male sex has been disproportionately impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. Numbers and statistics do not lie and the numbers are staggering.

For Every 10 Female…
-**Tests: **There are 8 male tests
-**Cases: **There are 11 male cases
-**Hospitalizations: **There are 12 male hospitalizations
-**ICU admissions: **There are 18 male ICU admissions
-**Confirmed cases that have died: **There are 15 male confirmed cases that have died
-**Vaccinations: **there are 9 male vaccinations
[Global Health 5050]

At the surface these may appear to be similar numbers and not that statistically significant. However, when we reframe these numbers into phrases like _“Men who have covid are 50% more likely to die._” **or** “_Men are 20% less likely to get tested, 80% more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 10% less likely to get vaccinated.” _These phrases begin to paint a very different and extremely haunting picture on the state of the male sex during the Covid 19 Pandemic. The phrases and words we use to describe problems in society matter a great deal.

In June of 2020 the CDC issued a small report on the Covid 19 pandemic’s impact on men. The CDC looked at 3 main factors that could be possible explanations for the differences in the data: **Biological, Psychological & Behavioral, and Social** This approach to looking at problems is called Bio-Psychosocial in the formal language of academia.

My informal approach to reviewing formal academic literature is to simplify big words into a generalization with a specific and the use of an idiom or cliche. The combined word of Bio-Psychosocial is in of itself meaningless because it can mean nothing or everything. The word can also be intimidating for common folk. My informal approach to Bio-Psychosocial is to reframe the word into other words that people find easier to connect with but gets to the same point.

One of the oldest idioms in the English language is “Manners make men” it is a phrase and idiom that has been in use for over 500 years and countless generations. The phrase encompasses everything that is in the academic phrase “Bio-psychosocial” To have good manners is essential in political society as it is a representation of possessing a good psychology. The combination of the two in short makes a man.

English speakers use idioms such as these to explain complicated things in an informal way and to make things easier to understand for common people. But that is just one way to reframe a complicated problem such as the Covid 19 pandemic. Another way to reframe the phrase Bio-psychosocial is to view it as different classes in high school that you attended during the course of a single day. There might have been a Biology class you went to or a Physical Education class you went to which is both behavioral and biological in the sense that exercise is an important part of life. Then there was lunch which includes psychological choices about diet and lifestyle and family status if your parents were the ones who packed your lunch or not. And of course the social aspect of high school of interacting with classmates and teachers. The socializing aspect of high school came with it its own complicated set of biological responses including hormonal spikes caused by individual changes that happen naturally for everyone in the teenage years, or noticing the opposite sex and becoming attracted to people, or playing team sports and through exercise hormones become more regulated, or mental health challenges of graduating and going off to college and being on your own for the first time. All of which are all normal and includes everything that could be in the academic phrase bio-psychosocial. In other words I believe that anything anyone could ever want to learn in college can be learned in the experience of going to high school and reframing things into simpler and basic concepts.

The biological explanation as to why Covid has disproportionately impacted men more than women is because of the nature of the coronavirus and the role testosterone plays in the male body and the presence of an extra X chromosome in the female body.

The X chromosome is contains 900 genes compared to just 55 genes on the Y chromosome. Biological females inherit an X chromosome from their mother and an X chromosome from their father resulting in an individual with an XX chromosome. Biological males always inherit their X chromosome from their mother and the Y chromosome from their father. Because so much of out genetic immune response is programed on the X chromosome and because biological females have two X chromosomes they are biologically a better defender of viruses and have statistically tend to have a superior immune system.

The specific strain of coronavirus associated with our current pandemic tends to be attracted to the hormone testosterone. Although the role between this specific strain of virus and the hormone testosterone and its interactions with the immune system is still ongoing and there is a lot to figure out and learn in the future there are some things that are known and can be concluded.

1. The spike protein in the Coronavirus needs a couple specific enzymes to enter into a cell. One of the enzymes necessary for the spike protein to get into a cell and infect it is created by the hormone testosterone.
2. Testosterone also creates other enzymes in the body that help fight off infection. Statistically the survival rates of fit and strong men are higher than those of obese men.
3. Recent studies in the Spring of 2021 have shown that men who have low testosterone are more likely to die from Covid than men with normal or higher than normal levels of testosterone. Even when compared to women who have low levels of testosterone the rates are higher. The extra X chromosome inherently gives the female sex better odds of fighting off infection.
[Role of Testosterone in Covid 19 patients A double edged sword?]
[Association of Circulating Sex Hormones with Inflammation and Disease Severity in Patients with Covid 19]

The choices we make also influence and impact the type of lives we live and the degree of health we have. In a non Life vs Death scenario the word Life can be seen as some as the a sum of the past choices we had and the decisions we made along the way. How we decide to spend our time and who we decide to spend our time with can also be a definition of the word Life in normal non covid times.

One of the most essential parts of that is the decision we all make on what we decide to do for a living. The pandemic has hurt countless Americans and people globally and has dramatically changed their future financial earnings. Although unemployment has currently returned to its normal state of being around 6 percent; when we look into the numbers we can see slight differences in the data.

The total unemployment at the end of the second quarter of 2020 was 12.9 at the end of the second quarter of 2021 the unemployment rate is 5.8. However, some groups were hit harder and have recovered faster when it comes to their employment status.

Unemployment among men in June 2020 was 11.9 and in July 2021 it is 6.0. Unemployment among women in June 2020 was 14.0 and in July 2021 it is 5.6. Unemployment among white men in June 2020 was 10.9 in July 2021 it is 5.2. Unemployment among white women in June 2020 was 13.3 and in July 2021 it is 4.9. Unemployment among African American men in June 2020 was 16.2 and in July 2021 it is 10.0. Unemployment among African American women in June 2020 was 16.1 and in July 20201 it is 8.5. Unemployment among Asian men in June 2020 was 13.0 and in July 2021 it is 5.7. Unemployment among Asian women in June 2020 was 15.8 and in July 2021 it is 5.6. Unemployment among Hispanic and Latino men in June 2020 was 15.2 and in July 2021 it is 6.7. Unemployment among Hispanic and Latino women in June 2020 was 18.7 and in July 2021 it is 7.8. Unemployment among married men in June 2020 was 6.9 and in July 2021 it is 3.8. Unemployment among married women in June 2020 was 8.9 and in July 2021 it is 3.7.

At the beginning of the pandemic it appears to have been that women were more likely than men to be laid off from their job and become unemployed. Since we have been returning to normal in the past few months it appears to be the case that women of all ethnicities have improved their employment status at greater rates than men have. It also is a situation today that in the United States of America an unemployed person is more likely to be man than a women. It also is significantly better to be married than single in the USA when it comes to seeking employment.

The covid pandemic has given everybody their own mental health challenges. Millions of people have found their own way to cope with the challenges of the pandemic including seeking professional help if needed. The problem of poor mental health among men was a problem before the pandemic. I suspect it to be a problem in the future for many decades to come. Here are some statistics on the status of mental health of men during the pre covid years.

- 2.6% of all deaths among men per year are deaths by suicide. The 8th cause of death among men as a total population.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among males under the age of 44.
- Men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide then women even though the rates of suicidal attempts are about equal.
- About the same amount of people die by suicide per year as they do by Breast Cancer. However, Depression research receives 1/100th of the funding that breast cancer receives annually.
- On average men tend to get about 28 minutes less of sleep per day then women. Over the course of a year that is about 170 hours of less sleep compared to women. Over a 10 year marriage that’s over 1,700 hours of less sleep for the husband or about 71 full 24 hour days, or about 8 full weeks of sleep. The hypothesis for this gap lies in the other gender gap about household work. Even though women do significantly more unpaid household work then men it also gives women more opportunities to sneak in a 5-10 minute nap. Over the long term this gives women a way to improve their mental health more than men by getting more sleep than men.
- 75% of deaths from excessive drinking are among males. Men have higher rates of alcohol related hospitalizations, Alcoholism is a risk factor for cancer a leading cause of death for men, it also impacts testicular function and male hormone function causing ED, infertility, and increasing the likelihood of death from coronavirus.
- Alcohol use increases the probability of violent behavior and drug use along with aggression. During the pandemic domestic violence has also been on the rise.
- Men have lower levels of life satisfaction then women.

**Conclusions: **What can we take away from the data that has been presented here?
- Testosterone plays a significant role in the biological health of males.
- Relationship status and being married is an important part of employment in the USA. The psychology, biology and social factors of married life impact employment status in some kind of way.

“A-10. Unemployment Rates by Age, Sex, and Marital Status, Seasonally Adjusted.” Accessed July 18, 2021.
“Biopsychosocial – APA Dictionary of Psychology.” Accessed July 18, 2021.
Burgard, Sarah A., and Jennifer A. Ailshire. “Gender and Time for Sleep among U.S. Adults.” American Sociological Review 78, no. 1 (February 2013): 51–69.
CDC. “From the CDC-Leading Causes of Death-Males All Races and Origins 2017.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 20, 2019.
Dhindsa, Sandeep, Nan Zhang, Michael J. McPhaul, Zengru Wu, Amit K. Ghoshal, Emma C. Erlich, Kartik Mani, et al. “Association of Circulating Sex Hormones With Inflammation and Disease Severity in Patients With COVID-19.” JAMA Network Open 4, no. 5 (May 25, 2021): e2111398.
“Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men’s Health | CDC,” October 23, 2020.
National Network of Depression Centers. “Facts.” Accessed July 18, 2021.
Griffith, Derek M. “Men and COVID-19: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding Sex Differences in Mortality and Recommendations for Practice and Policy Interventions.” Preventing Chronic Disease 17 (2020).
Hussain, Aneela N., Fazal Hussain, and Shahrukh K. Hashmi. “Role of Testosterone in COVID-19 Patients – A Double-Edged Sword?” Medical Hypotheses 144 (November 2020): 110287.
Mental Health Foundation. “Men and Mental Health,” October 26, 2018.
“The Sex, Gender and COVID-19 Project | Global Health 50/50.” Accessed July 18, 2021. “X Chromosome Fact Sheet.” Accessed July 18, 2021.


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