There exists an alternative to antibiotics since it's very beginnings. It is the bacteriophages therapy:
It is practiced since the 20ies in Tiblisi Georgia. TED talk about it:
So it is not all doomsday.
An order of magnitudes less important consequence of the end of antibiotics would be the end of professional sports and possibly also amateur sports.
Probably not a big impact on baseball or cricket (but I don't know much about them), but any contact sport, bicycle races, motor sport, climbing, etc has a good chance of generating large scratches and injuries (broken bones, torn tendons, etc) that result in surgical treatment. How many football players (both the American and the rest of the world varieties) would survive a full career, from childhood to mid 30s? And there is some crash at almost every single pro bicycle race, with broken collarbones and/or patches of skin peeled off by sliding on the tarmac. Again, how may of them would make it into the 40s without antibiotics? Amateurs go cycling for fun on Sunday morning. They also crash. A broken collarbone is bad, but risking the life for a scratch is much worse.
There was an interesting piece on BBC radio 4 a few months ago looking at the problems with the market when it comes to developing new antibiotics and I suspect government intervention will be needed to help the market along.
The usual model of drug development is
Spot opportunity > spend lots on R&D > Go into production > maximise sales > recoup money as soon as possible > Profit!
However, with new antibiotics we, as society absolutely do not want them to maximise sales. Ideally we don't want any production at all. At worst, we'd like it to be used in a handful of cases for 5, 10 or 20 years, keeping it as a treatment of last resource.
In such circumstances you can see the problem for the pharmaceuticals. Personally, I think there needs to be some kind of prize fund that can let the companies recoup (and make a decent profit) from antibiotic discoveries. Either that or public-sector research.
There are surely alternatives/augmentations to antibiotics. One that comes to mind is that exposure to certain blue light wavelengths kills germs (as recently discovered by the anti-acne industry). They could irradiate the operated tissue with intense blue light (plus maybe red light to lessen inflammation) before sewing up. And near infrared therapy (LLLT or even LED) would deal with a lot of inflammation post-op. A quite cheap option actually.. it would of course not prevent all infections, but sure a lot of them.
Since people seem to have trouble with the antibacterial claim, here is an article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23009190/
Just google “pubmed blue light antimicrobial”.
A world without antibiotics is also a world with very limited surgeries.
Maybe we should stop randomly giving antibiotics to chickens in order to make them bigger
This was on TED where it demonstrated using Ultraviolet wavelengths at a particular frequency that didn't cause skin cancer but only killed surface bacteria. https://www.ted.com/talks/david_brenner_a_new_weapon_in_the_... we good
Makes you wonder why we allow the animal agriculture industry to jack up their profits with wildly excessive overuse of antibiotics and externalize the cost onto the rest of us, not only in terms of dollars but in terms of loss of access to fundamental and essential medical procedures.
This always scares me and I think it isn't covered in mainstream media enough. When you say this to people, often they don't believe you.
But it leaves me shaking my head. If the world is so desperate for answers to this problem, why do I continue to be ignored and crapped on?
And it's generally viewed as bad form for me to express such thoughts. And I don't understand that either.