There appears to be a rise in COVID-19 illnesses, driven by Omicron subvariants, which may be better able to evade immunity from vaccines and previous infections and lower public health measures by the public such as masking and social distancing.

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.

In a peer-reviewed study published May 17 in PLOS Medicine, scientists found that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines were superior to adenovirus vector-based ones across major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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.

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.

Half of the COVID-19 patients discharged from a Chinese hospital in early 2020 still have at least one symptom two years later, a new study shows. Additionally, new findings suggest patterns of inflammatory proteins in the blood of people with long COVID may someday help guide individualized treatment.

President Joe Biden on May 12 commemorated the death of 1 million people in the United States from COVID-19, marking what he called “a tragic milestone” and urging Americans to “remain vigilant” amid the ongoing pandemic.

North Korea reported the country’s first COVID-19 outbreak on May 12, calling it the “gravest national emergency” and ordering a national lockdown, with state media saying an Omicron variant had been detected in the capital, Pyongyang.

Severe obesity may weaken the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in those who have never been infected with the coronavirus, according to a small Turkish study. Additionally, South African researchers have found infection with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus can significantly improve the immune system’s ability to protect against other variants, but only in people who have been vaccinated.

The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is intrinsically as severe as previous variants, unlike assumptions made in previous studies that it was more transmissible but less severe, a large study in the United States found.