Manhood, Modesty, and Pandemics28 July 2013
The World Health Organization has reported that the death rate of the new MERS virus is higher than SARS (50%) but slower-spreading. Only 90 cases have been reported since last September, most of them in Saudi Arabia. Oddly, 80% of the cases from the past year were men.
Dr. Christian Drosten from the University of Bonn was quoted in The Times of India saying it probably has less to do with manhood and more to do with standards for female modesty.
MERS also appears to be mainly affecting men; nearly 80 percent of the cases in the new study were men. Drosten said there might be a cultural explanation for that. “Women in the [Middle East] region tend to have their mouths covered with at least two layers of cloth,” he said, referring to the veils worn by women in Saudi Arabia. “If the coronavirus is being spread by droplets, [the veils] should give women some protection.”