58% got less sick thanks to COVID-19 protective measures

Survey suggests that 79% of the Maltese were not infected with COVID-19

Maltese individuals were the second least likely in the EU to report getting infected with COVID-19 – second only to people in Finland – a survey by Eurobarometer has revealed.

The survey suggests that nearly 8 out of every 10 Maltese did not get COVID-19 and that protective measures introduced to protect the population from the pandemic also contributed to a decrease in other ailments.

Respondents were asked whether or not they took any antibiotics while suffering from COVID-19.

The survey found that in 20 Member States, a majority of respondents replied that they did not get COVID-19.

Respondents were most likely to say this in Finland (80%), Malta (79%), and Germany (77%), and least likely to say so in Poland (43%), Slovakia (44%), and Bulgaria (46%).

Overall, the overwhelming majority of both Maltese and European respondents who suffered from COVID-19 did not take antibiotics and the vast majority of those who did, only did so with a medical prescription.

In fact, none of the Maltese respondents who contracted COVID-19 sald that they took antibiotics without a prescription.

Respondents were also asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their antibiotic use.

Almost three in 10 (28%) Europeans report a lower need for antibiotics because of lower cases of illness due to strengthened protective measures. But in Malta, the percentage of people who reported a decreased need for antibiotics due to strengthened protective measures increases to 58%.

Malta (58%) and Luxembourg (51%) top the list of countries where people reported getting less sick due to these protective measures.

Respondents were also likely to say this in Sweden (44%), Greece (43%), Italy (42%), and Croatia (40%).

They were least likely to say this in Portugal (17%), France (18%), and the Netherlands (21%).

This suggests that protective measures taken to slow down the spread of COVID-19, such as masks, hand hygiene, the use of sanitizers and physical distancing had a positive impact not just in stopping the spread of the COVID-19 virus but also on the possibility of contracting other infectious diseases, thus possibly reducing the need for antibiotics.

The survey, which dealt with the wider topic of the use of antibiotics and awareness on anti-microbial resistance, was held between February and March 2022 and was published on Monday.