No single solution will stop the virus’s spread, but combining different layers of public measures and personal actions can make a big difference.
It’s important to understand that a vaccine, on its own, won’t be enough to rapidly extinguish a pandemic as pernicious as Covid-19. The pandemic cannot be stopped through just one intervention, because even vaccines are imperfect. Once introduced into the human population, viruses continue to circulate among us for a long time. Furthermore, it’s likely to be as long as a year before a Covid-19 vaccine is in wide-spread use, given inevitable difficulties with manufacturing, distribution and public acceptance.
Controlling Covid-19 will take a good deal more than a vaccine. For at least another year, the world will have to rely on a multipronged approach, one that goes beyond simplistic bromides and all-or-nothing responses. Individuals, work-places and governments will need to consider a diverse and sometimes disruptive range of interventions. It helps to think of these in terms of layers of defence, with each layer providing a barrier that isn’t fully impervious, like slices of Swiss cheese in a stack.
The ‘Swiss cheese model’ is a classic way to conceptualize dealing with a hazard that involves a mixture of human, technological and natural elements.
This article can be read in full on the WSJ website, but is paywalled.
The illustration showing the swiss cheese pandemic model is hyperlinked to this hub Learn post.