Coronavirus: ‘Swiss cheese’ strategy to fight covid-19


  • Lucia Blasco
  • BBC World News

Photo caption,

Like Swiss cheese, protective measures work in layers

Comparing the coronavirus pandemic to Swiss cheese may seem strange, but to virologist Ian M. Mackay, from New Zealand, it is the perfect analogy to help people protect themselves against it.

“No single preventive measure that we try to implement to combat covid works 100%”, but when “we start to put different layers (measures) together, we create an effective barrier”, says the scientist to BBC News Mundo, BBC’s Spanish service.

In his infographic, Mackay shows how each slice of Swiss cheese – that is, each combat measure – has holes (imperfections), and how to combine them can result in greater protection against the virus.

“We know, for example, that masks are useful, but alone are not enough”, says the scientist. “Vaccines will be great news, but even when the first one arrives – sometime next year – it will not resolve the pandemic on its own. It is vital to take into account all layers (measures) instead of just one. And each one of them has its complexities. For example, not all masks are equally effective or are used properly, which is why each measure has several imperfections. “

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