The novel coronavirus affects men and disadvantaged groups more, a Turkish scientist who studies disease processes said Tuesday. 

Guntulu Ak, a senior medical scientist at Eskisehir Osmangazi University’s Faculty of Medicine, issued a written statement on factors that play a role in the severity of COVID-19 in different sets of people.

According to the statement, those who are elderly and have one or more underlying health conditions are the most seriously at risk.

Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic lung diseases, chronic renal failure, obesity, cancer and smoking are among other significant factors negatively influencing the severity of COVID-19.

Noting that scientific research indicates that men are more affected by COVID-19 than women, Ak revealed that men account for 62% of the COVID-19 fatalities in Turkey.

Underlining the difficulty of distinguishing COVID-19 in its early stages from other viral infections, she said the most common symptoms are fever and coughing. Weakness and shortness of breath are the second most common symptoms encountered.

“In symptomatic cases, however, the severity differs significantly. Some patients come to us with mild symptoms, whereas others suffer from multiple organ dysfunction,” she added.

Ak also stressed that the recovery period also varies in patients.

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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