The Swiss cheese model of accident causation is a framework for thinking about how to layer security measures to minimize risk and prevent failure. The idea is that when several layers of interventions, despite their weaknesses, are properly stacked up between a hazard and a potentially bad outcome, they are able to cumulatively prevent that outcome because there’s no single point of failure. During the pandemic, health care workers and public health officials have been using the Swiss cheese model to visualize how various measures can work together to help keep people safe.
Virologist Dr. Ian Mackay has visualized the Swiss cheese Covid-19 defense in a wonderful way (pictured above). Each layer of cheese represents a personal or shared intervention — like mask wearing, limiting your time indoors w/ crowds, proper ventilation, quarantine, vaccines — and the holes are imperfections. Applied together, these imperfect measures work like a filter and can vastly improve chances of success.1 He even added a “misinformation mouse” chewing through one of the cheese slices to represent how deceptive information can weaken these defenses.
We started online school last week, and this was Claire’s initial reaction:
And next, here’s some of what went on during the week. I have to say, I’m really impressed with the school, the teachers and the students. Everyone was being flexible, patient and understanding—and helping each other with technical issues, questions, etc. We’re all learning some good lessons in what it takes to adjust to something different, and how to support each other through it. Wishing all you students, teachers and parents the best of luck, no matter how school is starting for you!
Hovertext: That’s just professor hair, not an affectation.
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