Why women are better than men at beating the coronavirus

As the novel coronavirus cuts its relentless swath across the globe, doctors have identified one grim constant: COVID-19 has men, more than women, in its sights.

In Italy, men account for at least 70 percent of all coronavirus deaths. While South Korea has seen more confirmed COVID-19 cases in female patients than in males, a higher percentage of men have been felled by it. Here in New York City, more men than women are testing positive for coronavirus, with 55 percent of all cases. They also are dying of it at even higher rates. As of Friday, 1,159 men in the five boroughs had been killed by COVID-19 — 62 percent of the city’s 1,867 deaths.

The phenomenon has stumped medical experts. In their rush to make sense of the data, many are pointing fingers at men and their behavior. Some speculate that higher male smoking rates leave them vulnerable to the respiratory infection. Others guess that men are blowing off social-distancing guidelines, or are neglecting to wash their hands.

“I find that so offensive,” genetic researcher Sharon Moalem, MD, told The Post. “Talk about blaming the victim.”

“Sure, there are some behaviors that might affect the number of infections,” he said. “But why should poor hand-washing lead to death for a patient who’s already in intensive care? It’s ridiculous.”

In fact, the coronavirus’ bull’s-eye on men is consistent across age groups, regardless of underlying risk factors.

“What we are actually seeing is that males do not do well once infected,” Moalem said. “So it comes down to genetics. There is a genetic component to this illness.”

As a clinical researcher studying genetic disease, Moalem spent years working with patients at both ends of the human life span — from babies in the neonatal intensive care unit to seniors grappling with Alzheimer’s. In both groups he noticed that his female patients were more resilient than males, better at fighting off infections and recovering from injuries.

“The hardest thing a human being can do is surpass the age of 110,” he noted. “And 95 percent of those supercentenarians are women. Meanwhile, around the world, more girls than boys make it to their first birthdays.”

That brought Moalem to a startling conclusion contradicting centuries’ worth of conventional wisdom: Men, not women, are the weaker sex.

In “The Better Half” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), out Tuesday, Moalem explains that from the time they are still in the womb to their final breaths, women’s immune systems outperform those of men — an inherent advantage that lengthens their lives and improves their overall health.

And when it comes to outwitting COVID-19, Moalem says, women’s genes provide an even bigger edge.

With this virus, there is immense risk simply due to the fact of being male.

“It’s not just that females have a stronger immune system to fight this infection,” he said. “It’s that their genes give them a better defense at the cellular level.”

Every human, male and female, carries a set of 46 chromosomes in our cells. One of those 23 chromosome pairs determines a human’s biological sex. A man’s cells contain an X chromosome inherited from his mother and a Y chromosome provided by his father. A woman’s cells carry two X chromosomes — one from each of her parents.

The genes within our chromosomes contain the code that builds our bodies. The Y chromosome, with only about 70 genes, is a specialist that fashions the male reproductive system. But the X chromosome, with nearly 1,000 genes, does much more.

“The X chromosome has the genes that go into making the brain and the immune system, the two crucial things you need to survive as a human being,” Moalem said.

Both of a female’s X chromosomes are present in all her cells. But within each cell, only one of the X’s calls the shots. Half of a woman’s cells are dominated by the X chromosome that came from her mother, half by the X contributed by her father.

“That genetic diversity is really valuable,” Moalem explained. “One of the immune system’s most important weapons is the ability to recognize a virus. Well, genes on the X chromosome are involved in viral recognition. Right away, women have two different populations of immune cells that are best at spotting invaders.

“Meanwhile, maybe the other X has a gene that’s very good at identifying and killing infected cells,” he said. “So women’s immune cells function like a tactical unit. They specialize, then they interact and cooperate to fight the invaders.”

Men, with their single X chromosome, have a far less nimble immunological army at their command.

“As a man, I don’t have all those options,” Moalem said. “I can only hope that my one X has the genes that can recognize the virus — and can kill it, too.”

It gets worse for men in the age of COVID-19: The new coronavirus takes direct aim at their single-X vulnerability.

“What we researchers are seeing right now is the way this coronavirus gets into our lung cells,” Moalem said. “It has a key: a spike protein we think it uses to break in. And the lock it picks to enter is called ACE2” — an enzyme attached to the outer surface of the cell membrane.

“The gene that makes ACE2 is on the X chromosome,” he continued. “So if the coronavirus has the right key, it can unlock every one of a male’s lung cells. But females have two X’s — so half of their lung cells use one ACE2 lock, and the other half use a slightly different ACE2 lock. The chance that the virus has the perfect key to unlock both of them is not great. So that’s another enormous advantage for females.”

The virus’ lock-picking action damages the ACE2 so badly that it can no longer perform one of its crucial functions: preventing the buildup of fluid in the lungs during the infection.

“It’s the lungs filling up with fluid that happens in COVID-19 that can lead to the breathing difficulties experienced by so many,” Moalem said. “The severest lung injury we’re seeing with this infection is not likely to occur unless all your locks get picked. In females, the virus can’t usually get into enough of their cells to do that amount of damage — and that may be the reason why we’re seeing so many men dying.”

If that idea is correct, he said, we should expect more tragedies like that of the Fusco family of New Jersey, who lost four closely related members — 73-year-old matriarch Grace Fusco, two of her sons, and a daughter — to the coronavirus last month.

“We will likely see siblings or families that are particularly susceptible to this virus, because their cells share the same lock that the coronavirus is picking,” Moalem said. “We will see young people succumbing very quickly, very likely because they were born with a genetic version of the ACE2 lock that the coronavirus easily picks.”

And yet he sees reason to hope as research laboratories around the world home in on ACE2 to thwart the coronavirus’ attack.

“In that effort we can learn from the superimmunity of females,” he said.

Moalem’s own lab was in the midst of investigating new antibiotics when the crisis hit.

“We quickly switched our research efforts to find out if we can repurpose a drug that already exists,” he said. “There are a lot of drugs available, drugs whose safety profile we know, that could be used. I’m hopeful we can find something already in the toolkit that will be effective.”

Until then, he said, understanding the genetic risk factors of COVID-19 should spur us to safeguard those who are most in danger.

“We should be shielding all our seniors, but we should actually be protecting our male elders most of all,” he said. “With this virus, there is immense risk simply due to the fact of being male.”

DOUBLE X MARKS THE SPOT

The homogenous chromosomes benefit other animals too.

Human females are not the only ones that benefit from the double-X advantage. Across the animal kingdom, in all kinds of creatures whose sex is determined by their chromosomes, researchers are learning that the sex that has the doubled chromosome is almost always the one that lives longer.

“Essentially I’m proposing a new biological law,” genetic researcher Sharon Moalem told The Post. “The sex that gets two of same chromosomes will have an immense genetic advantage.”

Moalem calls it the “Law of Homogameity” (same-gene).

In a study published just last month, researchers from Australia’s University of New South Wales found new evidence to support his thesis. Biologists analyzed life-span data on 229 different animal species — mammals, birds, insects, fish, spiders, and more.

“We found that across that broad range of species, the heterogametic sex does tend to die earlier than the homogametic sex, and it’s 17.6 percent earlier on average,” lead researcher Zoe Xirocostas said.

It isn’t always the female of a species that gets the edge. Birds, some reptiles and butterflies don’t have the X and Y chromosomes that humans and other mammals share. Instead, they have what’s called a ZW sex-determination system. Female birds’ cells contain Z and W chromosomes; males get the double-Z.

Just as Moalem suspected, it’s the males in those animal species that gain the longevity edge.

Across the animal kingdom, these creatures benefit from a double chromosome hit …

  • Female lions typically live to 15 years compared to male lions’ 12.
  • Female chimps can expect to reach age 39, while males usually live 7 years less.
  • Female purse-web spiders live to an average age 8, while males typically get to 4.
  • Male chickens, like many other birds, have a double-Z chromosome, which extends their life span to 15 years while females reach age 8.

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These Gay Men Want to Donate Blood to Help COVID-19 Patients. But That's Against the Law.

The FDA has just amended its guidelines on blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM), reducing the deferral period from 12 months after sex to three months. This decision follows pressure from politicians including Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and advocacy groups like GLAAD, who described the FDA’s ban on gay and bisexual blood donors as “outdated and discriminatory.”

However, many believe that these new rules are no different from the old ones, and that it is an insufficient response at a time when blood donors are needed more crucially than ever before, both in treatment for COVID-19 patients and clinical trials for vaccines.

“I don’t think on their face they’re homophobic, but I do think they’re outdated,” says Dan, 24, of the FDA’s guidelines. He identifies as gay, and has been “cut off” from donating during blood drives ever since he became sexually active. “They don’t seem to have progressed with regards to how HIV testing, treatment and prevention have all come along,” he adds.

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The FDA is currently seeking individuals who have recovered from coronavirus symptoms to donate blood so that they can test plasma for antibodies which can then be used to treat sick patients. Adam, 28, hoped to be able to volunteer, but according to the law, he is ineligible.

“It’s frustrating,” he says. “I think right now a lot of people like myself are self-quarantined and they want to help, especially just having recovered from some of the lesser symptoms of having my sense and taste be gone for two weeks. I think a lot of people want to help, especially if they potentially have the antibodies. It feels stifling. It’s a missed opportunity. I’ve done my research on the plasma side and blood donation, and unfortunately I don’t qualify for either, because I identify as a bisexual male.

“I’m happy that they have reduced [the waiting period], but I still do not qualify, and I think many men who identify in the MSM category will not qualify for that,” he continues. “I think now more than ever, healthcare is at the top of everybody’s mind in terms of how it is distributed, and the unequal access we all have to it. When it comes to emergency responses and special circumstances like this, people want to be able to help, and it’s unfortunate when there are limitations that prevent that from happening.”

Dr. Perry Halkitis, Dean and Professor of Biostatistics, Health Education, and Behavioral Science at Rutgers School of Public Health, believes that the FDA’s rules perpetuate a stigma against gay and bisexual men. While the reasoning behind them is purportedly to prevent the spread of HIV (with gay men perceived as the highest-risk group), Halkitis says the science simply no longer supports that view.

“This is the challenge of that law continuing to exist; it assumes that gay men are the only individuals who acquire HIV, which we know is not the truth,” he says. “I think what we’ve learned from COVID-19 is that HIV is not what’s going to kill us, it’s all these new viruses that have the potential to kill us. And we have the tools that can actually identify the presence of HIV in a relatively short amount of time, through PCR testing. So while I applaud the efforts to reduce the waiting period to three months, I just wonder, given the technology, why they need the waiting period at all.”

Halkitis adds that excluding gay and bisexual men from involvement in clinical trials is the latest example of “institutionalized discrimination” in government and academia, and says that subconscious biases can be just as damaging as if they were overt.

“Gay men live with a certain level of trauma because of the society we live in, and HIV adds another level of trauma,” he says. “Rejecting gay men in a moment like this, when they can do some good for society, is a re-traumatizing event… I think there are plenty of gay men who have been exposed [to coronavirus] right now, who want to help. Something which would usually give us a sense of empowerment just continues to perpetuate the idea that we’re different, deviant, dirty; all those things that gay men grapple with from very young ages.”

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Those magnificent men in their writing machines!

Those magnificent men in their writing machines! As the daredevil art returns after a long ban, JANE FRYER reveals the heroic history trailing behind it…

  • Skywriting is a process which originated in the skies above the Western Front
  • British airmen used paraffin oil to create smoke trails to signal to troops below
  • Captain Turner and Major Jack Savage turned it into a commercial enterprise

For over a year, Royal Air Force Captain Cyril Turner practised in his modified Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a fighter: looping, climbing and flipping, two miles up in the sky.

First, he perfected the straight stroke of the letter ‘D’. Then, the swirl of the ‘Y’. Next, he tried grouping the letters ‘ail’ and ‘ily’.

He could only see the previous letter, or part of it, from the cockpit, so it was hard to write in a straight line, almost impossible to separate words, and the ‘Y’ was particularly tricky to pull off when flying at 100mph.

Oh yes, and it was all written backwards.

Which is why, as he told the Daily Mail at the time, he used the sun as his guide.

‘I fly directly towards it when I make the straight stroke of the ‘D,’ ‘ he said. 

Skywriting is the process of releasing smoke via a small aircraft during flight to form letters in the sky. Pictured: Skywriting in East Hampton, New York, in the 1940s

Royal Air Force Captain Cyril Turner practised the art of skywriting in his modified Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a fighter

‘I am too busy concentrating on the correct tracing of the letters to trouble much about the actual flying of the machine. I don’t bank correctly always, for example. 

In making the ‘D’, I kick the rudder hard and so turn more sharply than I would do if I made a correct bank. This improves the appearance of the letter.’

But, eventually, after thousands of hours of practice, he mastered it and, one blue-skied day in May 1922, tried out his new skill above London and the south coast, trailing a ten-mile plume of smoke behind him.

The crowds beneath were entranced.

‘A thousand fingers pointed to the sky where, gleaming white against the soft blue heaven, an aeroplane was seen wreathing in its flight a silver curl of smoke,’ recalled one witness.

In Margate, residents and holiday-makers rushed outside to join the crowds. Bathers looking upwards collided with each other in the water, boatmen stopped rowing and taxi drivers stopped their engines.

In Southend, the whole eight miles of seafront were crowded with thousands of visitors, and all eyes were turned skyward to see the wonderful writing.

‘The impression it left was one of amazement, for nothing could be seen in the sky but the letters traced in smoke,’ said one onlooker. ‘The most successful free exhibition,’ cried another.

Captain Turner was poised to become the first pilot to bring commercial messages to the skies. 

Days later, he produced his first official airborne advertisement — two words in vast, silvery letters in the blue skies above the thousands of ecstatic race-goers at the Epsom Derby: ‘Daily Mail!’

The art originated in the skies above the Western Front when British airmen used paraffin oil to create smoke trails. (Stock image) 

The ‘ink’ used in skywriting is a mixture of light paraffin oil and water which, when pumped into the plane’s exhaust, heats up and turns into a smoky vapour. (Stock image)

There has always been something magical about skywriting — words created in the sky by agile and talented pilots who, somehow, while flying at high speeds, mirror-write messages in the sky.

Letters that hang, swirling and shimmering in the breeze, before vanishing into thin air.

So what a perk, at an otherwise grim time to learn that, after a six-decade ban, skywriting is now set to make an unexpected return to British skies.

Even better, it could help our increasingly beleaguered aviation and advertising industries.

Proposals have been published by the Department for Transport (DfT) to amend aviation regulations to reintroduce it for advertising purposes, state events, airshows, birthday celebrations and marriage proposals.

The result could generate about £4 million a year in revenue but, more importantly, Britain would finally be back in step with much of the world for a skill we invented.

It would also allow our pilots —some of the best skywriters in the world — to work here, not America, China and Australia. (Just last week, one skywriter wrote ‘WASH HANDS’ in 600-metre letters high in the Sydney sky.)

Skywriting originated in the skies above the Western Front where British airmen used paraffin oil to create smoke trails, which they used to signal to the troops below.

There are environmental worries over skywriting which include increased CO2 emissions and the risk of abusive or inappropriate messages. (Stock image)

But it was our very own RAF airmen, Captain Turner and Major Jack Savage who, in the post-war years, turned it into a lucrative commercial enterprise. 

After all that inaugural Daily Mail excitement, they took the business to New York where Turner scrawled a huge ‘Hello USA’ in the skies above the city and sparked an entire industry.

The next day, he wrote ‘CALL VANDERBILT 7200,’ the telephone number of the hotel where he was staying. Legend has it that, over the following two-and-half hours, the hotel’s operators fielded 47,000 phone calls.

Within 10 years, skywriting was the biggest thing in advertising, far cheaper than radio and used to sell everything from cigarettes to Pepsi, and send love messages from wealthy suitors.

Soon, the mere sound of a low-flying aeroplane would see city-dwellers rush to the window to see what message it carried.

By 1940, it was one of Pepsi-Cola’s major advertising methods — that year alone, the company commissioned 2,225 flights. The same year, during the Roosevelt-Willkie presidential race, New Yorkers were messaged, ‘no third term’.

During World War II, the Germans even used skywriting to spell out surrender appeals above Soviet and, later, Yugoslav troops.

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, Yoko Ono and John Lennon commissioned a skywriter to create a message over New York City: ‘War is over if you want it — happy Christmas from John and Yoko.’

But while it thrived elsewhere, skywriting has been banned by our government since 1960.

In part, for health and safety reasons, but more as a pre-emptive response to the possibility it could have been used to spread communist propaganda at the height of the Cold War.

Happily, neither concern still applies, and thanks to lobbying by transport minister Grant Shapps (himself a pilot), an end to our antiquated ban looks in sight.

We just need a few incredibly talented pilots who also happen to be decent spellers.

Nearly a century after Captain Turner was looping and banking, the skill needed is still extraordinary, and the process is similar. 

The ‘ink’ is a mixture of light paraffin oil and water which, when pumped into the plane’s exhaust, heats up and turns into a smoky vapour, hanging in the air between 7,000 and 14,000 feet up. 

Skytyping — where planes flying abreast puff smoke at intervals to form letters — is different. And neither should be confused with banners, which are trailed behind light aircraft.

Naturally, leaving a message, however temporary, in the sky is very expensive. Compared to the £500 or so it costs to hire a plane to pull a banner, it costs thousands for letters that last barely four minutes, if you’re lucky.

(Though they won’t get tangled in your propeller and nearly kill you, as happened to poor old Nigel Farage when his UKIP banner brought his plane down on the day of the 2010 General Election.)

Success — crispness and legibility of letter and duration of display — is subject to the vagaries of the British weather. Optimum conditions are calm, blue skies. Too much wind and all those carefully flown letters blow away.

There are also environmental worries, which include increased CO2 emissions, safety concerns and the risk of abusive or inappropriate messages. After all, once a message is 2.5 miles up in the sky, it is there for all to see.

Indeed, while plenty of romantics have proposed or declared their love with heart-warming messages, not everyone has embraced skywriting’s celebratory side.

When his wife ran off with someone else, millionaire John Everson paid a pilot to skywrite ‘Cindy Everson is a sex cheat’ in the blue skies above Houston, Texas.

In a similar vein, Dirk Delahune, of Chicago, paid for ‘Marla Delahune is a tramp’ to be trailed across the skies after he caught her in bed with her tennis coach.

Which, as well as humiliating poor Marla, must have been rather eye-catching for everyone looking up in Chicago that day.

But the DfT seems to have all that covered.

‘Offensive or otherwise illegal content could be subject to general criminal law,’ it writes in its online consultation document.

Even better, the environmental concerns are negligible. Partly because smoke used to create the messages is a refined, non-toxic, and inherently bio-degradable white mineral oil, but also because the planes used have minimal impact on the environment.

So hurrah! Finally, some good news that would surely have sent the late Captain Cyril Turner looping the loop, and will hopefully cheer the rest of us up a bit, too.

Even if, for the foreseeable future, rather than ‘Karen, I love you’ and ‘Bobby, will you marry me?’ our messages are more likely to say: ‘Wash your hands!’ and ‘Has anyone got any loo roll?’

 

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Men twice as likely to die from coronavirus than women, expert says

One of the top doctors on President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force warned Friday that data suggests that men are more than twice as likely to die from the virus than women — and that no one is immune.

“From Italy we are seeing another concerning trend. The mortality in males seems to be twice in every age group of females,” said Dr. Deborah Birx at the White House daily briefing.

“This should alert all of us to continue our vigilance to protect Americans that are in nursing homes.”

Birx also said that the data showed that younger people remain at risk of contracting the disease but in most cases recover.

“We continue to review the data and we continue to see signs that individuals under 20, 19 and under may have severe disease but the majority have all recovered to date,” she said, adding that containing the virus will take a whole community effort.

“Frankly this requires all the communities, and when you see the sacrifices that many Americans have made and service industries have made to close their restaurants and bars so the spread can stop and you understand how all Americans must have to make the same sacrifice,” she said.

And she insisted that anyone can contract the virus.

“Finally no one is immune. I sometimes hear people on radio or others talking about being immune to the virus. We don’t know if the contagion levels are different in age groups but it is highly contagious to everyone,” she said.

“Do not interpret mild disease as lack of contagion or you are immune. The ability to fight the virus in a way that older people or people with existing medical conditions can’t.”

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Men can’t have it all either, struggle with work-life balance

Hey, ladies — you’re not the only ones struggling with work-life balance.

Just like women, men these days are struggling to have it all, according to a new report.

The research, released last week by Hearst Magazines and marketing firm Open Mind Strategy, looked at goals for men and women at different life stages. It found that younger men — Gen Zers, Gen Xers and millennials — considered “work-life balance” their top priority. Between their demanding careers and busy home lives, researchers explain, guys are feeling crunched.

That’s especially true for fathers, says Lance Somerfeld, an Upper East Side father of two.

“More dads are really pitching in at home and stepping up in such a huge way: cooking meals, doing laundry, helping with homework, painting their daughter’s nails,” the 47-year-old behind a social club called City Dads Group, tells The Post. “They’re sharing in all aspects of the parenting.”

That includes stressing out about work-life balance — what Somerfeld calls dads’ “corner-of-the-playground discussion” du jour. How can you thrive at work, exercise, see your friends and be a parent?

Men striving as much at home as they do at work “would have been unthinkable even 10 or 15 years ago,” says Rich Dorment, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health magazine. “When you look at our fathers, they might work from 9-to-5 and go home. Then, they didn’t do much. They played ball with Junior, but that was often the extent of their involvement.”

Today, some dads, such as Upper West Sider Teddy Levarda, are pitching in more at home out of love. The 34-year-old recently left a lucrative job in finance for a more flexible gig as an acupuncturist because he didn’t want to miss out on raising his 6-month-old daughter, Asha.

“My bosses were missing out on their kids lives,” Levarda says. “Their college-aged kids would come into the office sometimes and seeing them interact, they barely knew them. It was really sad.”

So he quit the rat race — becoming the primary chore-doer and caregiver, while his wife, a psychologist, continues working — and it’s been a struggle emotionally.

“I’m still working on finding the right balance,” Levarda says, adding that there’s a lot of “pressure” and “stress” around his career and social life now. “But knowing that I get to be involved with my family makes it easier to deal with.”

South Brooklyn dad Dan Quigley feels similarly. The 48-year-old has a robust fashion career: He manages the Armoury Westbury, an Upper East Side men’s clothing store, and also runs a small business, a custom tie company called ByWayOv. He doesn’t want to give any of that up, so he works hard to carve out time with his 2-year-old son, Cillian, planning his week to the minute so he can be there for family breakfasts, bath time and family outings. During his commutes, he meditates, so he can “be present” at home.

“There’s definitely a lot of pressure,” says Quigley. “My time with my son is pragmatic, and I have to work to make that time happen.”

Another thing driving this new male pressure cooker? Economics. As male breadwinners with stay-at-home spouses become less and less common, Dorment explains, guys’ partners expect them to carry more weight at home.

“We don’t have a choice,” the editor says, admitting that it’s a “cynical” perspective. “We often live in dual-income households and people don’t have the option not to participate in their family lives.”

There also are social complications. Even in these enlightened times, many men don’t yet feel comfortable openly prioritizing their family. Dads are more likely to miss family events and dinners because of work than moms, according to a study by child-care provider Bright Horizons. Men also are less likely to be upfront with their colleagues about having to tend to a family matter. Some 59 percent of men admit to sneaking out of the office rather than leveling with their co-workers, versus 42 percent of women.

In this sense, it’s actually harder for men than women to walk the achievement tightrope.

“Women are a generation ahead,” Dorment says. “There was the rush into the workplace in the ‘70s and ‘80s among women. That’s when they felt the competing demands between work and [family] life. Men were much later to face those same pressures.”

Women agree — although their sympathies are a little strained.

“Women have been dealing with this issue forever,” says mom of two and blogger Kristen Kelly, 31, who’s launching a podcast called “Not Your Mom’s Podcast” in May. “We’ve never had a 9-to-5. As moms, you have a job from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you fall asleep at night.”

“This is life. This is what happens when you have family and a job, and we’re in a world now where men and women should have equal responsibilities,” says blogger Brianne Manz, 38, who runs the lifestyle blog Stroller in the City, and has three kids who are 6, 8 and 11. “Women just handled it, they just got it done. I think dads are vocalizing it more, which is why this is a bigger issue.”

Even if they feel stretched, most dudes are not oblivious: They recognize that the majority of the burden still falls to their partners.

“Parenting is a team effort, and women have had to do too much for too long,” says Levarda. He’s on Week 2 of his wife’s return to work and is settling into a new rhythm of chores and maintaining feeding and nap schedules. But he knows that the conflict is even stronger in his wife’s mind. “I’ll never have it as hard as she does.”

And just like many women before them, many men are realizing that something’s gotta give.

“We have to give each other and ourselves a break, in terms of being perfect employers or employees and parents,” says Dorment. “Nobody can have it all.”

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Dancing On Ice star Libby Clegg’s heartbreaking mental health admission

Dancing On Ice star Libby Clegg is already a champion on the track and now she's hoping to become one on ice.

The Paralympian has won a raft of medals, including silver at London 2012 and gold in Rio 2016.

Libby, who welcomed her baby son, Edward, last year with partner and fellow Paralympian Dan Powell last year, has been awarded an MBE for her incredible sporting achievements.

She has now made it through to the final of Dancing On Ice after surviving last week's skate off against Ben Hanlin.

With the judges split over who to send packing, it was up to head judge Christopher Dean to cast the deciding vote.

Chris sided with with fellow judges Jayne Torvill and Ashley Banjo in choosing to save Libby – with only John Barrowman opting to choose Ben.

Libby has made history as the first ever blind contestant on Dancing On Ice.

She has Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy disease, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine.

Libby has previously described it as "like looking at a pixelated computer screen or a scrunched-up firework".

She is registered blind and only has limited vision in her left eye.

Heartbreakingly, her condition is deteriorating and there is no treatment for Stargardt's Macular Dystrophy, which means she could one day lose what's left of her vision.

Libby said: "I’m at the age where my sight should be stabilising but it’s still deteriorating.

"Things will never go black, but I don’t know yet exactly what I will be able to see."

But Libby has been determined her condition wouldn't hold her back while she was competing on the hit ITV show.

She even claimed it helped, adding: "I can’t see so don’t feel dizzy or nauseous when I do spins.

“Although I can’t watch my partner demonstrate moves on the ice, I have great hearing so listen to his skates and try to mimic the clicks, scrapes and foot placements I hear.

“I count the number of strides it takes to reach the barrier of the rink so I don’t just fly into it. And, touch wood, I’ve not had any injuries. I don’t suffer things other people do.”

Despite her incredible bravery, Libby tearfully admitted on last week's show that she had struggled with mental health issues in the past.

Her problems started after her glorious win in Rio four years ago as she suddenly felt she was "left without a purpose".

Libby explained: "Everybody else was like 'you should be happy, you've achieved everything you wanted to achieve'.

"The feeling of happiness only lasted for three weeks. I just felt empty and numb, I didn't have a purpose.

"I then felt guilty that I felt that way. I've faced different challenges and barriers in my life and I never thought I'd have mental health issues. It just goes to show it can happy to anybody."

It was the birth of her son, Edward, in March 2019 that Libby credits with helping her over come her issues as she said it "put a whole new persepective to my life".

  • Dancing On Ice is on ITV at 6pm tonight.

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Two men are hospitalised after having substances sprayed on them

Two men are hospitalised after having substances sprayed on them in attacks minutes apart across London

  • Man in 40s was sprayed by an ‘unknown substance’ in Lewisham, south London
  • Another man in his 20s was  stabbed and substance sprayed in Waltham Forest
  • The first attack happened around 9.20pm and the second at 10.40pm tonight 

Two men have been hospitalised after having substances sprayed on them in separate attacks across London tonight.  

One man in his 40s was sprayed by an ‘unknown substance’ in Lewisham, south London, at around 9.20pm this evening.  

The man is in hospital and his condition is not thought to be life threatening.

Two men have been hospitalised after having substances sprayed on them in separate attacks across London tonight. Pictured: The scene in Lewisham after a man in his 40s was sprayed by an ‘unknown substance’

The first attack, at around 9.20pm this evening, left a man in hospital but his condition is not thought to be life threatening

A second attack in Waltham Forest saw a man in his 20s stabbed and a substance sprayed at him at 10.40pm.

He is currently in hospital and his condition is unknown.

Lewisham MPS tweeted: ‘We’re working in Lewisham High Street after a man in his 40s was assaulted and sprayed at around 9.20pm with an unknown substance. 

Lewisham MPS tweeted: ‘We’re working in Lewisham High Street after a man in his 40s was assaulted and sprayed at around 9.20pm with an unknown substance.’  Pictured: Police at the scene

‘He has been taken to hospital for treatment (condition not thought to be life-threatening). No arrest yet.’

Waltham Forest MPS wrote: ‘We’re investigating a stabbing at 10.40pm in Queens Road, Walthamstow. 

‘A substance was also sprayed at the victim, aged in his 20s, who has been taken to hospital. 

‘We await assessment of condition. No arrest.’

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The Fury men have a VERY similar type with Molly-Mae clones – from Tyson’s wife Paris to Hughie’s partner Tiffany – The Sun

TYSON Fury's stunning wife Paris has wasted no time in welcoming Tommy's Love Island girlfriend Molly-Mae Hague into the family, with the pair already mirroring each other's style, poses and love of luxury.

But they're not the only Fury women to share a striking resemblance – and Tyson had a stream of lookalike family members behind him for his victory match against Deontay Wilder this weekend.

From designer bags and clothes, to luxury homes, flawless Instagram poses and First Class travel, the Fury men's knockout partners are naturals on social media with a string of enviable snaps.

And it's fair to say, their partners certainly have a type.

Giving a glimpse at the wives and girlfriends all together under one roof this week, Paris shared a snap as they gathered to support Tyson, 31, in Las Vegas.

The proud wife and mum was joined on both sides by Molly-Mae, plus her two sister-in-laws Helen and Shirelle and cousin-in-law Tiffany.

She captioned the photo: "The 5 'Mrs Fury's' In Vegas. Went to see the comedy show thought it started at 9 but was 8. But got a 30 minute laugh."

A post shared by Tiffany Fury (@tiffany.fury) on


Immediately commenting on the likeness, one fan wrote: "I can see the Fury men like their blondes," while another added: "We need a 'keeping up with the furys'."

Meanwhile another added: "All similar in looks," and one wrote: "The Furys certainly have a Type don't they! you all look so alike! Beautiful ladies."

Here's a look at each of the beauties who prove the Furys are punching above their weight.

The Love Island bombshell

While Molly-Mae Hague was a keen Instagram user before meeting Tyson's brother Tommy in Love Island, she's taken her love of designer goods, glamorous outfits and Instagram poses to new levels since they left the villa.


And she shares a lot of interests with his wife Paris – with the pair often posting very similar photos.

While both beauties love a designer outfit, they're also both huge fans of big blonde curls and dramatic make-up.

They've also given a glimpse inside their homes – and appear to both love a minimalist look, with light sofas, minimal clutter and stylish decor.

Fall in love with this apartment more everyday🥰 Everything @arighibianchi (apart from me) #ad

A post shared byMOLLY-MAE (@mollymaehague) on

Meanwhile, clearly both Tommy and his boxer brother Tyson are romantics at heart, as each of their partners were treated to huge bouquets of red roses on Valentine's Day.

Molly ensured she made the most of her time in Vegas to support Tyson, sharing photos in front of swanky hotels, super cars and dining in stunning restaurants – a hobby she also shares with Paris.

View this post on Instagram

Found a special one🌹

A post shared by MOLLY-MAE (@mollymaehague) on

Found a special one🌹

A post shared byMOLLY-MAE (@mollymaehague) on

The ringside rock

While her husband may have been the star of the show on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Tyson's wife Paris made quite the impression by his side as she showed off a stream of gorgeous outfits on the trip abroad.

A post shared by Paris Fury (@parisfury1) on

Wearing a floor-length red dress with a daring thigh-split, Paris stole the show as she posed outside, wearing her long blonde hair in waves over her shoulders.

Tyson met Paris around 15 years ago at a wedding of mutual friends when she was just 15.

The heavyweight superstar has previously likened boxing to marriage.

He said: "Boxing is like a marriage – you have to work at it. You do fall in and out of love.

"But I have spiced it back up again, bought her some sexy lingerie and we are back at it, better than ever."

Paris has opened up about her husband's battle with drink, drugs and depression – admitting she managed to help him back from the brink of suicide.


The Gypsy King previously opened up about his demons, claiming he drove his Ferrari towards a bridge at 190mph in a desperate bid to end his life – despite being at the pinnacle of the fight game.

And speaking of the heartbreaking time, Paris told the Mirror shortly after: "I thought, ‘do you bail on someone you love? Do you let them deal with it themselves and let them crash and burn?’

“Tyson never quit on me and the children, and we didn’t quit on him. We’re together and we’re going through it together as a team.”

The pair are parents to Prince John James, Venezuela, Prince Tyson Fury II, Valencia Amber and Prince Adonis Amaziah.

The high flyer

While she may not be as well known as Paris and Molly-Mae, Tiffany Fury has built up quite the Instagram following all the same.

She is the wife of Hughie Fury – Tyson's cousin.


Tiffany shares Paris and Molly-Mae's love of a big blonde blowdry and regularly shares photos of herself in skimpy dresses, posing for mirror selfies or on luxury holidays with her husband.

Joining Paris and Molly-Mae in Vegas, all three of the Fury women travelled in luxury, with both Tiffany and Paris sharing snaps from the plane.


View this post on Instagram

This week has been fun…

A post shared by MOLLY-MAE (@mollymaehague) on

This week has been fun…

A post shared byMOLLY-MAE (@mollymaehague) on

Molly-Mae may not have posted her own, but she's previously made no secret of her love for a First Class seat.

And it seems Tiffany's grown close to Molly-Mae, as she shared a photo of the Love Island star and Tommy on her own Instagram page during their time in Vegas together.

Touched by the gesture, Molly-Mae commented: "Aww tiff," with a series of love hearts.

Meanwhile, proving she's just as romantic as Paris and Molly-Mae, Tiffany also shared a loving tribute to her husband on Valentine's Day alongside a series of photos, writing: "Happy Valentine's to my Husband Hughie I Love You always and forever."Hughie replied to his wife: "Love me my tiffany wish i was there tidat (sic)."

The Insta shunner

While Tyson's sister-in-law Shirelle – thought to be the wife of his brother John Fury Jr – shares a similar look and glam style to her female family members, she's not as attached to her Instagram account, only posting very rarely with most of her photos of her six adorable children.

However, she did ensure she shared a snap in the white and black dress she wore for the Vegas celebrations with her fellow Fury beauties.


This time, she posed on her own in front of a stunning fountain on the strip, simply captioning the snap: "#vegas."

Meanwhile, she revealed last year that she'd been married to her Fury hubby for 18 years and celebrated their anniversary with a topless snap of him posing in the mirror.

The brunette!

While she may be the only one of the group who's a natural brunette, Tyson's brother Shane's wife Helen loves a makeover and glam look as much as her family members.

Although she's not on Instagram herself, she regularly appears alongside her sister-in-law Paris in her selfies – often sharing a lunch out or drinks together.


While her husband Shane – a retired super heavyweight amateur boxer – often shares YouTube videos about his famous family, the pair keep their relationship very private and are only really seen together in Instagram photos shared by Paris.

All the same, she was ringside and supporting Tyson with the rest of the Fury family and looked a million dollars on the night.

There's nothing like keeping it in the family!

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The haircut that men find most attractive

While it may seem like kind of a cliché that men can’t get enough of a woman with long, flowing locks, it turns out there’s actually a lot of truth to this. A 2008 poll by the Daily Mail found that an overwhelming majority — 43 percent — of the men they surveyed picked a long, wavy ‘do as their favorite women’s hairstyle.

While this didn’t exactly come as good news to some — Elite Daily said in 2015 these results just go to show that “the majority of dudes are f***ing boring,” PopXO listed long boho waves, long loose curls, and sideswept waves (also long) as its top hairstyles men love on women, and StyleCaster described wild, slightly messy, long curls as “the ultimate sexy hairstyle, because it makes guys think of their favorite bedroom activity.”

Other haircuts men love (and a few they don't)

Long and straight is okay with dudes, too — that Daily Mail poll had this coming in as the number two pick. PopXO points to men favoring cute and/or messy pigtails, while StyleCaster speaks of the appeal of more glamorous, sleeker updos, but these looks also require some length in order to pull off. The shortest look said to be favored by men was the medium-length bob. What men generally do not care for, however, seems to be ponytails, heavy bangs, or any hairstyle that goes beyond slightly messy into total DNGAF territory.

The case for short hairstyles

While shorter hairstyles may not be topping any polls of what “most men” like, the fact is, ultimately, your hairstyle is your choice, speaks to your personality, and shouldn’t be about appealing to whatever any survey says.

And if that’s not enough to bolster your confidence, should you happen to have hair that just won’t grow past shoulder-length, consider this: Fashion writer Joan Juliet Buck said in Vogue (via Elite Daily) that “short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style” and “makes other people think you have good bones, determination and an agenda.” According to Buck, with shorter hair, “your face is no longer a flatscreen surrounded by a curtain: The world sees you in three dimensions.”

Whether you choose to wear your hair long or short — or maybe you just wanna rock those Bettie Page bangs — remember, real beauty isn’t in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the mirror — meaning, if you look good to you, you look good, period. Anyone who thinks different is just wrong, that’s all, and you didn’t need their erroneous opinion anyway.

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