Outcome Disparities Among Men and Women With COVID-19: An Analysis of the New York City Population Cohort

J Drugs Dermatol. 2020 Oct 1;19(10):960-967. doi: 10.36849/JDD.2020.5590.


Background: Growing evidence suggests a possible sex disparity in COVID-19 disease related outcomes.

Objective: To explore the sex disparity in COVID-19 cases and outcomes using New York City (NYC) population level data.

Setting: NYC surveillance data from February 29 to June 12, 2020.

Participants: Individuals tested for COVID-19 in metropolitan NYC.Outcome Measurements and Statistical Analysis: Outcomes of interest included rates of COVID-19 case positivity, hospitalization and death. Relative risks and case fatality rates were computed for all outcomes based on sex and were stratified by age groups.

Results and limitations: 911,310 individuals were included, of whom 434,273 (47.65%) were male and 477,037 (52.35%) were female. Men represented the majority of positive cases (n=106,275, 51.36%), a majority of hospitalizations (n=29,847, 56.44%), and a majority of deaths (n=13,054, 59.23%). Following population level adjustments for age and sex, testing rates of men and women were equivalent. The majority of positive cases and hospitalizations occurred in men for all age groups except age >75 years, and death was more likely in men of all age groups. Men were at a statistically significant greater relative risk of case positivity, hospitalization, and death across all age groups except those <18 years of age. The most significant difference for case positivity was observed in the 65–74 age group (RR 1.22, 95%CI 1.19–1.24), for hospitalization in the 45–65 age group (RR 1.85, 95% 1.80–1.90), and for death in the 18–44 age group (RR 3.30, 95% CI 2.82–3.87). Case fatality rates were greater for men in all age-matched comparisons to women. Limitations include the use of an evolving surveillance data set and absence of further demographic characteristics such as ethnographic data.

Conclusion: Men have higher rates of COVID-19 positivity, hospitalization, and death despite greater testing of women; this trend remains after stratification by age. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(10):960-967. doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.5590.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Mortality / trends
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pandemics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing