STAT | COVID-19 is claiming thousands of lives, but many more could be killed by drug-resistant bacterial infections, writes former CDC director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding in this opinion piece. It’s a one-two punch: A virus can weaken the body, making it easier for complex, hard-to-treat bacteria to take hold. The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, for example, claimed nearly 300,000 lives around the world. Many of those deaths — between 29% and 55% — were actually caused by secondary bacterial pneumonia, according to the CDC. Some recent studies have found that 1 in 7 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has acquired a dangerous secondary bacterial infection, and 50% of patients who have died had such infections. The antibiotics market is broken. Dr. Gerberding calls on the US government to take urgent action, and adopt measures including the DISARM Act to address the rising threat. As we come together to fight today’s COVID-19 crisis, she says, we must also look ahead to the next one. We cannot be short-sighted, and we cannot be complacent, especially about antibiotic resistance. We must put measures in place to ensure that we have the antibiotics we need — today and in the future.