Swiss cheese and the Pandemic


Sophia Maybin

This image shows how, with multiple imperfect layers, proper safety can be achieved.

Archie’s Law, Avogadro’s Law, Einstein’s theory, etc. Oftentimes, scientific theories and discoveries are named after the person who discovered them.

So, it seems logical that scientists have given credit to Swiss Cheese (yes, the edible cheese we have in our fridges) for a healthcare risk management theory which is widely recognized by doctors and scientists today as the Swiss Cheese Model.

If you have ever seen a package of swiss cheese, you will notice that the individual squares of cheese have multiple holes in them. The Swiss Cheese Model is a scientific model that explains why it is vital to take all precautions against the virus– because no single measure guarantees 100% virus protection.

There is not a single person who has not been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic rolled in and shattered our daily lifestyles and ways of living. Since the start of it all, scientists and doctors have been working vigilantly to come up with methods of protection, vaccines, and much more.

Assume one slice of cheese is your protection against COVID-19. The virus can still reach you through the “holes” of the cheese. However, if you stack up multiple slices of cheese, there is less of a chance of the virus going through the hole and reaching you.

The Swiss Cheese Model is a simplified explanation of why it is so important to take as many precautions as possible.

Beginning March and April, masks were mandated in many stores and other areas to prevent the spread. Masks, while not 100% effective in blocking COVID, vastly improved the chances of protection from the virus and acted as a first slice of protection.

Vaccines, many of which are labeled by experts as 90% or above effective, are another slice of protection. Vaccines prevent many people from becoming sick and dying, and are one of the major hopes in the decline of the pandemic. However, no vaccine can ever be 100% accurate (as nothing can be 100% guaranteed), so it is important to continue taking other preventative measures.

Good hygiene and the continued practice of hand washing greatly decrease the risk of the virus, but the virus still remains in the air. Maintaining social distancing reduces the chance of catching the virus, but we may still get it by other means. Fresh air and sunlight minimize the virus, but the outdoors are still not 100% COVID-free.

It is visible that no single slice of cheese can guarantee us 100% protection.

But if everyone continues to use a number of slices of prevention (a number of preventative measures), we have the best chance of protecting ourselves and our families.

So despite the widespread success of vaccine rollout throughout the globe, it is important that we stick through this time and continue to use as many measures as we can, to stop letting COVID-19 reach us.