Coronavirus: Women make up 50% of patients, 51% of vaccinated Israelis

Some 79% of healthcare and welfare workers are women in Israel, with a higher risk for catching the coronavirus.

A health worker rests near the NYU Langone Hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 3, 2020.  (photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
A health worker rests near the NYU Langone Hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., May 3, 2020.
(photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)
Half of all coronavirus patients in Israel were women and more than half of all Israelis completely vaccinated against the virus are women, according to data released for International Women's Day by the Knesset Research and Information Center.
The data also showed that 48% of hospitalized coronavirus patients and 42% of the deaths caused by the virus were women.
Among coronavirus patients under the age of 80 who died, women only made up 36% of the deaths, while for patients who died over the age of 80, the percentage of men and women was about equal.
More women than men reported worries about the virus, stress and anxiety and a feeling of loneliness throughout the outbreak, according to the data. Data from the European Union showed similar results.
Some 68% of the calls to a mental health support hotline established by the HMOs to help Israelis handle the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak were from women. Some 60% of the new patients at mental health clinics were women. While the percentage of new female patients at mental health clinics dropped by 5% from January to August 2020, it then rose by 13% from September to December. The delay in the increase of new patients in September may be due to long waiting times between the time of contacting the HMO and the time of the actual appointment, according to the report.
During 2020, the number of fecal occult blood tests, mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies decreased in 2020 amid the coronavirus outbreak and lockdowns.
Some 79% of healthcare and welfare workers are women in Israel, with 86% of nurses, 61% of pharmacists and 43% of doctors, with a higher risk for catching the coronavirus. Some 75% of education workers and 62% of sales and retail workers, both fields that involve contact with others and a higher risk of infection, are also women.
Women were also fired or put on unpaid leave at a higher rate than men during the outbreak, but also returned to work at a higher rate than men after the first lockdown.
The coronavirus lockdown also likely increased the workload on women, especially those working from home, as in the majority of Israeli households, women are largely responsible for a large portion of household duties, such as preparing food and childcare. With schools closed, this workload likely increased.
Research conducted by the University of Haifa found that women spent on average five additional hours on childcare and two additional hours on other household duties, while men spent an additional four hours on childcare and no additional hours on other household duties.
The report stressed that it is still too early to examine the long-term effects of the coronavirus crisis, but that it is already clear that women have been and continue to be affected by the pandemic in ways that men were not.
"In view of this, the importance of integrating the gender perspective in formulating the policy for dealing with the virus and exiting the crisis is increasing," wrote the report. "Against this background, various international bodies - including the UN, the OECD and the European Parliament - are calling for the adoption of a gender-sensitive approach in shaping crisis management policies and strategies; an approach that takes into account the inequalities and gender gaps that have intensified during the crisis."
The report stressed concerns that that if appropriate action is not taken to address the gender specific issues created by the pandemic, progress made recent decades concerning advancing the status of women could halt and gender inequality may not just stop narrowing, but may even grow.