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Sex, gender and COVID-19

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

It is unknown whether sex- (biological attributes) or gender-(socially constructed roles, behaviors, expressions, identities) related factors are shaping the different outcomes in women and men’s infection rates, hospitalizations, severe infections and mortality. An understanding of the influence of each on risk of infection, hospitalization and death is of urgentimportance in the COVID-19 pandemic response effort.

Dr. Raparelli and Prof. Kublickiene recently published an article in CMAJ 2020 looking at the influenceof sex and gender domains on COVID-19 cases and mortality. They highlight the importance of every country reporting sex-disaggregated data on COVID-19cases and deaths,and recording genderidentity in additionto

sex. An example of why this is so important: Reporting on the sex or gender identity, or both, of those seekingand receiving SARS-CoV-2 tests can help uncover whether differences observed are associated with inequalities in access to care or represent actual sex- or gender-based differences in infectionrates.