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COVID crisis in India: why its public health strategy failed

By Ankur Mutreja, Group Leader, Global Health (Infectious Diseases), University of Cambridge
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Most countries have used what’s known as the Swiss cheese model in planning their COVID response. In this risk-management model, each preventative measure is represented by a slice of cheese. No slice on its own can stop the virus from spreading because it has holes (flaws). But many slices, stacked one in front of the other, are enough to stop the contagion. In India – to continue the analogy – some of the holes were too big in three of the most important layers.

The first layer (as shown in the diagram below) is physical distancing – a tall order for India. India’s cities are densely…

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