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Sundial

Some Women Might Face Higher, Deadlier Risks From COVID-19 And Previewing The 2021 Legislative Session

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PEDRO PORTAL
/
Miami Herald
Ron Book (far right) Chairman of the Homeless Trust looks on as a medical staff vaccinates Janet Bristol, who got her second round of covid vaccines at Jackson Memorial as part of a partnership program between the Homeless Trust and the Jackson Memorial Hospital to vaccinate senior citizens who are homeless and/or housed in permanent housing. on Friday, February 19, 2021.

Men are dying at double the rate of women from COVID-19. A new study explores why — and which women remain the most vulnerable. Plus, we hear from two Republican state lawmakers about the upcoming legislative session.

On this Monday, March 1, episode of Sundial:

Some Women Might Be Higher Risk Of Death From COVID-19

Men are dying of COVID-19 at double the rate of women.

And women’s hormones seem to be helping them in the battle against the virus. A new report from Florida International University looked into this difference. It also found that not all women are equally protected.

“One of the theories that we proposed in our literature review was the fact that men have more androgens compared to women and women have more hormones like estrogen and progesterone that may be more protective in coronavirus disease,” said Allison Roach, one of the co-authors of the study, who will be graduating from medical school at FIU this year.

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Androgens are sex hormones, like testosterone, that give men their male characteristics.

They found that menopausal women and women who had just given birth could be more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their estrogen and progesterone levels decrease.

Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) could also be more vulnerable due to having a higher probability of having heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and increased androgen levels.

Some of the most severe cases of the virus in women occurred post partum, according to the study.

“We do know that the postpartum period can be a very vulnerable period for both moms and babies,” said Dr. Judette Louis, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida. “It is beneficial to breastfeed. Again, very few instances of babies catching COVID from breastfeeding. If you had COVID, there are some antibodies that can be found in breast milk that can help the baby.”

She added that new mothers are recommended to take precautions like washing their hands and breasts before breastfeeding and wearing face masks to prevent their breathing droplets from potentially infecting the baby.

Preview The 2021 Legislative Session

Florida’s legislative session begins in Tallahassee this week — with COVID-19 relief, economic recovery, environmental policy and more on the docket.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a nearly $97 billion budget that needs approval by lawmakers.

Climate change and sea-level rise were far from priorities for Republican lawmakers a few years ago in Florida. Now, many are backing the need to have a statewide plan for these environmental issues.

My concern is that we take this, not slowly, but carefully,” said Republican Representative Rick Roth from Palm Beach about a $1 billion resiliency program pitched by DeSantis. “I was very much in support of the governor when he rolled out the program last year. And we passed a law saying if you spend state dollars on building a building within so many yards of the ocean you have to get a sea-level rise study done.”

Economic recovery, after a tumultuous year, is also a top priority for lawmakers in this upcoming session.

“If you have cleanliness protocol and safety guidelines in effect, I think that’s all someone can do. And being open, being an open state, an open business but being careful I think is what’s going to send us out of the end COVID like a rocket ship as opposed to limping out like I think a couple of other states will be doing,” said Republican State Rep. Chip LaMarca, who represents part of Broward County.

Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.