More men than women are likely to become seriously ill, and men are more likely to die in the coronavirus pandemic, according to statistics emerging from across the world.

Last Friday, the White House COVID-19 Task Force director shared the information from an Italian report that shows that men in nearly every age bracket are dying at higher rates than women.

The gender gap in Italy confirms earlier statistics from other countries.

Last week, health authorities in Italy reported that among 13,882 cases of COVID-19 and 803 deaths between Feb. 21 and Mar. 12, men accounted for 58% of all cases and 72% of deaths. Hospitalized men with COVID-19 were also 75% more likely to die than were hospitalized women.

Unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking, or general poor health are some of the key factors that could explain why more men are dying from coronavirus than women in countries such as Italy or China.

The preliminary results highlight that it is not only biology but also gendered behaviors, how most men and women conduct their lives which may play a significant role in the different mortality rate for respiratory diseases.

According to 2020 data released by the National Health Institute (ISS), in Italy 7 million men smoke as opposed to the 4.5 million women. After admission to a hospital, a third more Covid-19-positive smokers had a more serious clinical situation than non-smokers and the risk of needing intensive care and mechanical ventilation is more than double among smokers.

The Word of Wisdom

The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom.

In the Word of Wisdom, the Lord revealed that the following substances are harmful:

Alcoholic drinks (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:5–7).

Tobacco (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:8).

Tea and coffee (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:9; latter-day prophets have taught that the term “hot drinks,” as written in this verse, refers to tea and coffee).

Illegal drugs can especially destroy those who use them. The abuse of prescription drugs is also destructive spiritually and physically.

The Lord also declared in the Word of Wisdom that the following foods are good:

Vegetables and fruits, which should be used “with prudence and thanksgiving” (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:10–11).

The flesh “of beasts and of the fowls of the air,” which is “to be used sparingly” (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:12–13).

Grains such as wheat, rice, and oats, which are “the staff of life” (see Doctrine and Covenants 89:14–17).

To those who keep the Word of Wisdom, the Lord promised:

“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

“And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

“And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18–21).

While observing the Word of Wisdom obviously doesn’t guarantee complete protection in all cases from all diseases, what the statistics about the coronavirus are showing once more is that to avoid smoking, drinking and other harmful habits can save our lives.


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