Controlling COVID-19: Controlling COVID-19 depends on paying close attention to the virus, tracking case rates and indicators of severity - hospitalizations and hospital burden versus deaths, which is very much a lagging indicator. While controls such as vaccine mandates, masking and distancing can be gradually relaxed as risk decreases, they need to be brought back into play as risk increases again. As a rule of thumb, be cautious about removing controls and be sure over a period of a few weeks that risk has truly been reduced. And be quick to reinstate controls if there are increasing numbers of cases and/or early warning signs of a worrying new variant emerging anywhere globally. Remember that variants travel very quickly across multiple countries