layers of protection

Curbing COVID-19: The Many Layers of Protection in a Pandemic

It turns out that two masks really are better than one, according to the CDC.

In an experiment that involved two artificial heads placed six feet apart wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask, more than 95 percent of exchanged particles were blocked, as the disposable masks caught particles that cloth masks initially missed.

But this multi-layered approach doesn’t just work with masks. The more precautions you take, the safer you will be.

Dubbed the Swiss Cheese model, the theory is easy enough to understand. Each slice of cheese has holes – in this case, opportunities for the virus to get through. But when enough slices are stacked on top of each other, they begin to work together to block each other’s holes.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, many people are still seeing preventative measures as standalone solutions. If they wear a mask, they reason, there’s no need to practice social distancing. If they’re practicing good hand hygiene, there’s no need to avoid touching their face.

The reality is that prevention isn’t an either/or situation. And while there are plenty of measures you can take on your own, there is an element of social responsibility that needs to be present as well.

Virologist Ian Mackay, Ph.D., has brought the Swiss Cheese model into the COVID-19 era with an infographic describing the layers of protection and how they work together.

Divided into two categories — personal responsibilities and social responsibilities – Dr. Mackay’s model serves as a visual aid for how we can protect ourselves and those around us.

Personal responsibilities include preventative measures like masking up, regular handwashing, staying home when sick and practicing proper social distancing. These are things we can do for ourselves.

Social responsibilities are a bit trickier. These rely on cooperation between individuals, health authorities and local, state and federal government – something that has admittedly been a struggle over the course of the pandemic.

Social prevention measures include improved contact tracing, updated ventilation and air filtration systems in schools, hospitals and long-term care facilities, faster and more accurate testing and, ultimately, vaccines for everyone who wants them.

Standalone preventative measures may help reduce the transmission rates, but to truly get the upper hand on COVID-19, a multi-layered approach is the only solution.

There has never been a more crucial need for PPE, and PPE door caddies from Protection First help you keep it within easy reach.