What Does Swiss Cheese Have to Do with Preventing COVID-19?

What Does Swiss Cheese Have to Do with Preventing COVID-19?

Think of COVID-19 prevention like a brick of Swiss cheese—not eating it, but stacking up the slices. While each slice has holes in different places, similar to a single prevention tactic which is imperfect by itself such as physical distancing, mask wearing and washing hands. However when you place the all the prevention tactic slices together, the individual holes/imperfections are covered by the other slices. While no single virus prevention behavior is perfect, if a variety of behaviors are used together, we can create a significant barrier which goes a long way to stopping the virus from infecting anyone. The more of these behaviors you and your loved ones practice, your chance of getting sick or spreading the illness to others are reduced. Vaccination is our newest protective layer! ​

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Illustration by Ian M. Mackay, University of Queensland, derived from layered approach originally outlined by Prof. James Reason   

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Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office


  1. Sharon Torlai

    I would really like to reproduce your “cheese” illustration to give to my employees. However, I can’t find a way to do that. Could you send me a printable copy? Many thanks! Sharon Torlai

    1. Valley Communications

      Hi Sharon! Unfortunately, we do not own this image. It’s an adaptation from a research study by James T. Reason.

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