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Background: The COVID-19 epidemic has taken a considerable toll worldwide and has harmed both male and female health. Statistics revealed that fewer females were directly affected than males; however, the latter may be more affected by the consequences. Some studies at the global level have suggested gender as the key determining factor in COVID-19, but there is a lack of such studies in developing countries like India. In light of the situation, this study has analyzed the gender-wise pattern of symptoms, morbidity, multimorbidity, and mortality due to COVID-19 in Karnataka, India.
Methods: We used patient-level raw data from COVID19-India application programming interface (API) from 09th March to 05th September 2020. We have used descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage distribution, and latent class analysis (LCA) to carry out this analysis.
Findings: The study comprised 78,983 COVID-19 patients who were 63.6% males and 36.4 % females. Out of the total patients, 10.1% were reported as deceased, of which 68.4% were males and 31.6% were females. We found that all three symptoms (cough, breathlessness, and fever) were higher among males than females in the case of disease symptoms. Males had a higher risk of severe infection and mortality in general. In comparison, females suffered from comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension were at higher risk of mortality due to COVID-19 than their male counterparts. The latent class analysis also revealed that females had a more significant proportion of two or more symptoms, whereas males had more than two comorbidities.
Interpretation: Given the differences in lethality between the two genders, we believe that our study has found the root causes of the gender differentials in the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, our research mapped gender differences in various aspects of COVID-19, which will help policymakers find suitable interventions to reduce the burden.
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