Guest post: Coronavirus don’t care how you identify

Originally a comment by Claire on It doesn’t.

This is actually dangerously incorrect information. Yes, for the most part endometriosis doesn’t kill (although it does slightly increase the risk of ovarian cancer). But it is a terrible condition nonetheless.

But if you say 1 in 10 people, you’ve now screwed up the statistic. It’s not 1 in 10, because almost half the population is not at risk at all. And they can’t say 1 in 10 people with a uterus because it is possible to get the disorder without one in places such as the fallopian tubes, pelvic cavity, and even the bowel.

Now imagine if we were talking about something that does kill people but has differential risks for men and women. Breast cancer is common in women but rare in men. Lifetime risk of breast cancer in women is 1 in 8, for men it is 1 in 833. If you say 1 in 8 people instead you are grossly distorting the statistics. There’s no way I can think of that positively separates those at high risk and those at low, other than the word women. Even if you have a mastectomy, breast cancer is still possible (which is why prophylactic mastectomy by BRCA1/2 positive women is not very smart). You could I suppose say cis women and trans men, but that still doesn’t cover the non-binary and whatever the hell queer is supposed to mean these days.

Here’s another, more immediately relevant example: the risk of death from coronavirus seems to be higher in men than women by a considerable degree. Now, because most of the statistics we’re relying on come from China, we don’t know if that is true or whether there is confounding by smoking (~50% of Chinese men smoke compared with ~1-2% of Chinese women). Nevertheless, if it holds up, this needs to be communicated and quickly. Coronavirus don’t care how you identify.

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