Swiss cheese model. In India, the “holes” were too big

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Carl Waldmeier / Flickr

The vast majority of countries have adopted the Swiss cheese strategy to respond to the pandemic. In India, the “holes” were too large in three of the most important layers.

To respond to the health crisis unleashed by covid-19, most countries used the swiss cheese model: each preventive measure is represented by a slice of cheese, and no slice, by itself, can prevent the spread of the virus, since it has holes (flaws).

On the other hand, many stacked slices manage to put a brake on contagion. It turns out that in India, some of the holes were too large in three of the most important layers.

Ankur Mutreja, from the University of Cambridge, wrote an article in The Conversation which explains that the first layer is represented by physical distance.

This requirement is particularly difficult in the country, as Indian cities are densely populated and increasingly populated, due to the daily arrival of millions of migrant workers.

The second layer is based on the proper use of More expensive e sanitation enhanced. In India, low literacy rates, irregular social conformity and the extremely hot climate – which in some parts of the country can reach 50 ℃ – do not help.

The last layer is the vaccination en masse of the population. High rates of hesitation and, more recently, the lack of vaccines are to blame for the failure of this measure.

So far, India has vaccinated partially or totally only 12% of its population. Despite this, political representatives knew that the challenge of vaccinating the vast majority of people in such a large, populous and demographically complex country would be difficult.

Ian M MacKay / Wikimedia

288f3f6d62efe6897dc8ac88136efa6b Swiss cheese model. In India, the "holes" were too big

Swiss cheese model

During the first wave, restrictive measures in India were some of the strictest in the world. The stigma of dying from a new, unknown disease encouraged people to wear masks, so two of the three primary layers of protection worked relatively well at first.

However, in the second wave, the prolonged failure of all three basic layers was a major blow to the country’s infectious disease landscape and weakened health system.

The health crisis in India is a mirror of a public health situation that is out of control and of several failures in the health infrastructure, which can cause a mortality rate much higher than expected.

The British university researcher says that India can be an example of an important lesson for all countries: health systems must be prepared, ready for a potential increase in new infections, until we’re all immunized.

Liliana Malainho Liliana Malainho, ZAP //