What does Swiss cheese have to do with the pandemic?

By Cary Conway
Swiss cheese model for pandemic defense - Vitality

A couple of months ago, a Tweet from Australian virologist Ian Mackay featuring the “Swiss cheese model” as a multi-layered approach for combatting COVID-19 went viral (no pun intended), even capturing the attention of The New York Times.

While the Swiss cheese concept has existed for some time, for the pandemic it serves as an effective visual that there are multiple intervention layers (cheese slices). These slices have been divided into personal and shared responsibilities to prevent the spread of this virus decimating the physical and economic health of so many around the world. While the different prevention techniques, such as hand washing, social distancing, mask wearing and avoiding large gatherings are not perfect in and of themselves, layered together these interventions provide greater protections.

The pandemic has dragged on much longer than any of us would have initially anticipated, and the disruption is being felt even more intensely as many of our traditions and time spent with family and friends during the holidays have been cancelled. While vaccines are now here, until they are readily available to everyone, they’re another layer in the swiss cheese model to prevent the spread of this virus.

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