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CDC Analysis: Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections on Rise during COVID-19 Pandemic

Maryellen Guinan
July 19, 2022

A new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows significant surges in antimicrobial-resistant (AR) infections and antibiotic use in U.S. hospitals from 2019 to 2020.

Resistant hospital-onset infections and deaths both increased at least 15 percent from 2019 to 2020, and more than 29,400 people died from AR infections commonly associated with health care during the first year of the pandemic.

In comparison, a 2019 report celebrated national reductions in AR infections. Infection rates fell by 27 percent between 2012 and 2017, and reductions continued until the pandemic began.

In the 2022 report, CDC notes delayed or unavailable infection and death data for many community-associated pathogens because many clinics and health care facilities had limited services, fewer patients, or closures in the face of COVID-19 challenges.

CDC remains committed to mitigating gaps in the public health system and exploring investments in five core actions the agency identified in 2018 to better prepare the United States for resistance emerging worldwide. These public health actions include:

  • tracking and data sharing;
  • preventing infection;
  • antimicrobial use and access;
  • environment and sanitation; and
  • vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

The report also highlights the connection between risks for AR infections and social determinants of health, as well as CDC’s work to target AR-related health equity as part of its CORE Initiative, an agency-wide strategy to increase equity across public health.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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