According to an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the spread of drug-resistant infections surged during the coronaviruses epidemic, killing nearly 30,000 people in 2020 and upending much of the progress made in containing the spread of so-called superbugs.
The number of deaths caused by infections that were impervious to antibiotics and antifungal medications increased in the first year of the Pandemic. The increase was tied to the chaos caused by the coronaviruses as doctors and nurses struggled to treat patients who they did not fully understand, before vaccines and treatments were available.
The majority of the deaths occurred in nursing homes and other health care settings, according to the report. According to the study, frontline hospital workers mistakenly gave antibiotics to lung infections that did not respond to the drugs. Many of the sickest patients spent weeks or months in intensive care units, increasing the chances for drug resistant bugs to enter their bodies.
Because the public health labs that normally track drug-resistant infections have been swamped, the death toll is likely to be higher.
According to the C.D.C., the shortage of face masks, gloves and gowns may have contributed to the emergence of drug-resistant infections. The report said that because of staff shortages and overwhelmed wards at many hospitals, infection control specialists were often relocated to provide basic patient care rather than promote the proper use of antibiotics, hand washing and other safety measures.
The director of the C.D.C. said that setbacks can and must be temporary. The Covid-19 Pandemic made it clear that prevention is Preparedness. Preparing our public health systems to fight multiple threats at the same time is necessary.
The federal officials were worried about the increased spread of dangerous pathogens. There has been a 78 percent spike in infections of Acinetobacter, a bacterium that is resistant to the antibiotic carbapenem, and a 60 percent rise in infections of Candida auris, a deadly fungus that can be found in nursing homes.
The analysis shows what public health experts have been saying for a long time is a slow- moving epidemic. Health experts warn that the death toll from infections that don't respond to antibiotics could reach 10 million by the year 2050 if there isn't a concerted effort to reduce the use of antibiotics.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when the drugs that have been designed to fight them are not as effective as they could be. The more these medications are given to people and farm animals, the more likely they will become resistant.
According to the C.D.C., a third of antibiotics are wrongly prescribed for respiratory ailments. Eighty percent of hospitalized Covid patients received antibiotics between March and October of 2020.
The findings of the C.D.C. show that the hospital-acquired infections that kill 35,000 Americans a year and sicken 2 million are not as bad as previously thought. According to the agency, drug-resistant infections dropped by 18 percent between 2012 and 2019.
The most recent report confirmed what many health care workers and public health experts had suspected.
The director of the Antibiotic Resistance Project said that the magnitude of how much worse it is is alarming. It underscores the need for us to really focus and invest in addressing this public health issue.