Swiss cheese, anyone?
The success of infection prevention cannot rely on only one method of suppression. Why? Because not one way is perfect by itself. There will always be “holes” in each approach, which is why most virologists agree that to prevent the worst outcomes of any viral illness, a layered approach is best. This is where the Swiss Cheese model of pandemic defense comes into play. This model first accepts the imperfection of every prevention approach available. However, they argue that if all these models are taken together, or “layered,” then the strengths of one will be able to cover up the “holes” of the others, creating an effective way of preventing the spread of viral illnesses such as the flu.
So, what are these layers? For a disease that is spread primarily through respiratory droplets and touching infected surfaces, doctors recommend the following. First, physical distancing. Next, avoiding contact with others if you are sick. Wear a mask, practice hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Do not touch your face. Also, avoid crowded spaces. Instead, have ventilation and air filtration. Quarantine and isolation are important. Finally, mass vaccinations. Each layer is crucial in building a fortress of protection, and the more layers in this protective mesh, the thicker and more effective the wall we make becomes. However, while some layers are easily adopted, some, which fall in the realm of personal choice, can become problematic. This happens when a significant percentage of the population refuses to cooperate, leaving many vulnerable to the “holes” that could lead to a particularly disastrous flu season.