The Swiss Cheese Virus Defense Model

a message from Public Health Director Patty Hayes

The following is a message to key ambassadors from Patty Hayes.  And to anyone reading this, you are one of those key ambassadors.  Please help reinforce this message and the new restrictions to ensure the health and safety of our community and to help accelerate us past this surge into a time of relative normalcy again soon.

Dear Ambassadors:

COVID-19 cases are off the charts at the moment, and our hospitals are beginning to feel the pressure of increased numbers of patients. However, there is also hope on the horizon. Starting this month, based on the FDA action this week, we will begin to receive vaccine – vaccine which experts believe is extremely effective.  I’ll be writing to you next time about that plan but need your help now because even with the rollout of the vaccine, it will be slow, and our residents need to keep protecting themselves and their loved ones while the vaccine roles out.  So, please use this great “Swiss cheese” analogy from the image here to help keep our work focused while our hope on the horizon emerges.

I’d love for you to send this graphic to your networks. It illustrates that no single intervention is perfect, but used in tandem, we can go a very long way to stopping the virus from infecting anyone. The virus is sneaky and very good at finding new people to infect, but we can stop the spread through our individual and collective behaviors. The more of these behaviors you do the fewer chances you’ll get sick or spread the illness to others.

Please share this information with everyone in your networks.  This graphic is available in lots of different languages at

All my best to you,

Patty Hayes, RN, MN
Public Health – Seattle & King County

Also available in other languages and image types here.


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