Coronavirus: Could travel distance be factor in why more men may be in hospital with COVID-19?

May 26, 2020

Not staying at home as much as women could be a factor behind why more men have been treated in hospital or died from coronavirus, according to new findings.

During May, men moved 48% further than women, data gathered by the Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor found.

The more a person is outside of their home, the more chance they have to come into contact with the virus.

This, along with other factors such as the prevalence of underlying health conditions, offers potential insight into why men in the UK may have been more at risk from COVID-19.

The findings, which are based on anonymised, aggregated and GDPR-compliant location data from mobile phones, show that since the lockdown began on 23 March, men have largely travelled further from home than women.

The reasons why men moved more were not given but one option could be types of work.

Across every age group men have moved further than women in the same age bracket, and in some cases further than women in a younger age range.

Men in their mid-20s to early 30s moved the most - travelling 54% further than women of a similar age by 15 May.

Men in their 50s have moved 28% further than women aged between 23 and 24. Men in their 60s also moved 39% further than women of the same age.

Dr Adam Saunders, who co-leads the Oxford COVID-19 Impact Monitor inter-disciplinary project, said: "To our knowledge, this is the first study which shows differences in population movement, not only between men and women, but also across age groups during the UK's lockdown.

"It clearly shows that men have tended to travel further from home - potentially coming into contact with the virus with greater frequency."

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Dr Matthias Qian, co-leader of the project, said: "The extent of differences in movement between men and women offers potential insight into why, in addition to the prevalence of underlying health conditions, men in the UK may have been most at risk from COVID-19.

"This is highlighted by evidence that many older men have been moving more than women of all age groups."

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