Women with COVID-19: Chennai outnumbers State

‘Trend indicative of the fact that the virus is now spreading at the household level in city’

May 14, 2020 11:53 pm | Updated May 15, 2020 03:46 am IST - CHENNAI

The proportion of women among COVID-19 patients is disproportionately high in Chennai compared to the rest of Tamil Nadu , an indicator possibly confirming increased community transmission in the city.

State Helpline numbers | State-wise tracker | A map of confirmed cases in India

While the male to female ratio of patients for the whole of Tamil Nadu, among the 9,674 cases as on Thursday, stood at roughly 66:34, in Chennai the ratio was almost 60:40.

On excluding Chennai, the ratio of female patients is considerably low for all other districts put together. Only around one in four patients are women in all other districts in Tamil Nadu. The trend is similar even in some of the districts with more number of cases like Cuddalore, Tiruvallur and Viluppuram.

A similar trend has also been observed among the younger and older population who have tested positive in the State. In Chennai, the percentage of patients in the 0-12 age group and in the above 60 age group stands at 16.1 and 7.1, respectively.

For all other districts put together, the percentage is significantly lower at 10.4 and 4.4.

Also read:Coronavirus | Citing COVID-19 spike, TN CM urges PM not to resume air, rail services till May 31

K. Kolandaswamy, who recently retired as the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Tamil Nadu, said that the trend was indicative of the fact that the virus was now spreading at the household level in Chennai.

“Biologically, one gender is not prone to COVID-19 than the other. Men are more at risk, particularly in the initial stages of the pandemic, since the possibility of them venturing out and coming into contact with others is more. As cases go up, people at home also become more vulnerable,” he said.

Usha Sriram, Chennai-based endocrinologist, who has been observing the impact of COVID-19 among women, said that there could also be other contributing factors to the trend.

Vulnerable sections

She pointed out that women in urban areas, particularly among the poorer sections, were prone to having predisposing conditions that could make them more vulnerable.

Also read: Coronavirus | Tamil Nadu Cabinet eases lockdown norms in large parts of State

“We know that the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is more among urban women than rural women. One of the key learnings we are seeing from COVID-19 is that people with non-communicable diseases are more prone to communicable diseases,” she said.

Dr. Kolandaswamy said that it was important at this stage to identify the root and source of every infection.

“We need to know how every elderly person is catching the infection, whether by going out or through family members. Adequate steps must be taken to protect them as they are more vulnerable,” he said.

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