1. Couples in Italy are fewer and fewer

In 2012, as much as 4 percent of married couples in Italy lived together outside the couple’s own home — one of the highest percentages in Europe. Now, that figure has dropped to about 2 percent — a drop primarily attributable to women’s increased embrace of motherhood. (In part, this reflects the decline in European marriage.) As a result, while Italy’s marriage rate is roughly similar to its European average, the number of couples living together has declined sharply — from 9.5 million in 2012 to about 7.2 million in 2018. And, as far as the coronavirus goes, couples are contracting the illness from men in their same-sex relationships, underscoring the need for tracking the extent of sexual transmission.

2. But the virus is most deadly among men

Scientists working to better understand how the virus affects men have identified three different genetic strains that are more virulent in men. The results, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2014, showed that the different genetic signatures of the three strains were more strongly associated with cases of men dying from the virus — “in fact, overall risk was eight times greater for men in groups with one specific genetic profile and seven times for groups with another,” according to the report.