Coronavirus: The ‘Swiss cheese’ approach to protecting yourself and others from COVID-19

This maybe sounds a little bizarre, but it is a different way of thinking about the precautions we choose to take.

A stack of Swiss cheese can help protect you from coronavirus / COVID-19. Well, physically, it cannot. But the idea can.

Think of all the measures designed to keep us safe

  • Social distancing
  • Hand hygiene
  • Face coverings
  • Surface cleaning
  • Self-isolating
  • Testing

We should all be doing these things or be ready to do them, but none of them are 100% effective on their own.

Each measure is a bit of like a slice of Swiss cheese. There are holes in it, and so the virus can get through in certain ways. But if we follow all these measures and stack them together, it’s less likely the holes in every slice of cheese will align to make as clear a path through the entire stack.

So basically, if we follow all the measures designed to keep us safe, the chances of us either having or spreading the virus are vastly reduced.