What is the ‘Swiss cheese model’ and how can it apply to coronavirus?

By now, the measures to protect ourselves during the coronavirus pandemic are engrained in our minds.

a close up of food: slices of swiss cheese

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slices of swiss cheese

But with “pandemic fatigue” an increasing concern, public health experts are reminding people of the importance of these measures using an unusual metaphor — cheese.

The “Swiss Cheese Model” uses slices of cheese to visualize how interventions work together. Each intervention — including physical distancing, mask-wearing, hand washing and disinfecting — is depicted as an imperfect barrier to virus transmission by the holes in the cheese.

When multiple effective, but imperfect, interventions are combined like a stack of Swiss cheese slices, some of the holes in the cheese are covered and virus transmission is decreased or even stopped. Some viruses might get through a couple of holes, but the odds are low that holes in every slice would line up and allow the virus to slip through

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