WOMEN aged between 20 and 40 are “bearing the brunt” of the second wave of the coronavirus as more of them are exposed to the killer bug.
Data from the NHS shows a substantial rise in the number of women being admitted to hospital with serious infections of the virus since the beginning of August.
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Experts say that the rise in hospitalistation of women could be due to the fact that young women are in roles that leave them exposed to infection.
Data from Co-Cin, a Clinical Information company that provides updates on the virus to the Department of Health and Social Care revealed that between January and September, 56 per cent of those treated in hospitals in the UK for the virus were men, and 44 per cent were women.
Since August 1, women have accounted for 48 per cent of those treated in hospital.
There was a surge in women aged between 20 and 40, while there is no rise in admissions for men in the same age range.
Speaking to The Guardian, Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University and a member of the government’s Sage committee said there is a “big excess” when it comes to women being infected.
“Something is wrong in the way society is being managed because women between 20 and 40 are currently taking the brunt of this second wave.”
Semple added that the increase in infections is caused by people becoming too comfortable with guidelines and younger women being in jobs that expose them to risk.
He said women working in hospitality, shops and the care sector would be more exposed to the virus – especially when people get lackadaisical about social distancing and mask wearing.
At the start of the pandemic people who were in the clinically vulnerable category and the elderly were advised to shield.
This meant that they were unable to socialise or go out and do their shopping.
Semple however stressed that while the virus is most harmful to people in these categories, the risk in women being hospitalised with the virus needed to be taken seriously.
He added: “We are seeing people between 20 and 40 who are otherwise fit and well who are being affected.
“It’s clear to me that these working women are being exposed to the virus and that can only be because other parts of society are not taking heed of the guidance. The message is that Covid is real and it does affect younger adults.”
On August 27, Sage had raised concerns about the infection rate in young people.
It highlighted the risk those in younger age groups posed to more vulnerable people in the community.
At the start of the pandemic it was reported that men were twice as likely to die from the virus than women.
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A study conducted by the Office for National Statistics in 2013 found that women made up 80 per cent of the workforce in sectors such as leisure in care.
Chris Rauh, an economist at the University of Cambridge said that as women returned to work once restrictions were lifted – they were more exposed, he added that this could be one explanation for the rise.
Charities have now urged the government to take closer look at the way that the pandemic is affecting women.
The chief executive of the charity Young Women’s Trust, Sophie Walker said if initiatives by the government such as Eat Out to Help Out are going to “disproportionately affect” women, then the government needed an action plan.