At the height of the pandemic, doctors and nurses made furious efforts to protect themselves with gowns and masks and scrambled to save the lives of the severely ill Covid-19 patients with ventilators. But these efforts, among other life saving measures, had a side effect: drug-resistant infections have increased in hospitals. The development, reported on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came about in part because drug-resistant bacteria thrived on reused protective equipment, intravenous lines and medical equipment like ventilators.
Drug-resistant infections have in recent years become a gnawing, sometimes deadly, problem. The threat has grown as various germs — notably bacteria and fungi — have mutated and developed defenses that allow them to resist medications and thrive; the germs prey in particular on older patients and the immunocompromised, limiting drug options to counter infections or, in extreme cases, leaving no effective treatments.