With increasing concerns about COVID-19 reinfection, Pfizer and the National Institutes of Health are discussing potential studies regarding a longer treatment period with the antiviral medication Paxlovid.

COVID-19 is on the rise again in the Americas as many countries have abandoned measures like masking and social distancing and many lag in vaccination rates, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on May 18.

Rising COVID-19 cases are driving up the use of therapeutics, with Pfizer Inc.’s oral antiviral treatment Paxlovid seeing a 315 percent jump over the past four weeks, U.S. health officials said on May 17.

On May 17, the U.S. FDA authorized a booster of Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 years. The action comes as major cities are announcing a rise in cases. Additionally, COVID-19 would have claimed over 110,000 more lives in 2021 if not for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a Pfizer-sponsored report on the first year of the U.S. vaccination program.

Standing tall in bright red hazmat suits, five North Korean health workers stride towards an ambulance to do battle with a COVID-19 outbreak that – in the presumed absence of vaccines – the country is using antibiotics and home remedies to treat. The isolated state is one of only two countries yet to begin a vaccination campaign and, until last week, had insisted it was COVID-free. Now North Korea is mobilizing forces including the army and a public information campaign to combat what authorities have acknowledged is an “explosive” outbreak.

Shanghai set out plans on May 16 for the end of a painful COVID-19 lockdown that has lasted more than six weeks, heavily bruising China’s economy, and for the return of more normal life from June 1.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, pulmonologist Joseph Varon offered an opinion that made headlines around the world and went viral on social media. Varon was fighting two wars, he said: one against COVID and one against stupidity.

Shanghai is tightening an already strict COVID-19 lockdown in a fresh push to eliminate infections outside quarantined areas of China’s biggest city by late this month, people familiar with the matter said.

COVID-19 cases in the Americas increased by 12.7 percent last week from the prior week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on May 4, as infections continued to rise in Central and North America.

China’s commercial capital of Shanghai was dealt a blow on May 2 as authorities reported 58 new COVID-19 cases outside areas under strict lockdown, while Beijing pressed on with testing millions of people on a May Day holiday few were celebrating.