Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Here's a dire explanation for the surge in respiratory-related hospitalizations in China

James Palmer for Foreign Policy:

Hospitals in China are filling up with patients as respiratory illnesses surge among children, stoking fears among China’s neighbors. But the current outbreaks do not appear to be a new virus. Instead, they reflect three factors: a young population that lacks exposure to common viruses thanks to years of lockdowns, recurrent COVID-19 infections, and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, which are leading to rising pneumonia figures.


Their unwillingness to share details about the outbreaks is also because antibiotic resistance is embarrassing for China, which has long been aware of the problem but has done little to successfully combat it. Antibiotics are widely prescribed over the counter in China, leading people to use them at much higher rates than in the United States (where antibiotic prescription rates are already quite high). Antibiotics are also given in large quantities to livestock.