Public health experts are concerned that misuse and overuse of antibiotics during the pandemic could exacerbate another ongoing crisis: antibiotic resistance, where pathogens like bacteria and fungi evolve to evade powerful drugs designed to destroy them.
Now, overuse of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic may be making the problem worse. In the early months of the pandemic, when COVID-19 patients showed up with coughing, fever, shortness of breath, and their chest X-rays revealed white spots—lung inflammation resembling bacterial pneumonia—many were prescribed antibiotics. In the U.S., for instance, more than half of the nearly 5,000 patients hospitalized between February and July 2020 were prescribed at least one antibiotic within the first 48 hours of admission.
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