Omichronicles March 7: My flatmates are trying to catch Covid to get it over with. Is this wise?

Life moves pretty fast on the Omicron wave. (If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the one part of the press conference you actually needed to hear.)

Nearly two years into the pandemic, we’ve circled back around to unprecedented times and Keeping Up With The Covid cases, lights, and phases takes a village.

So each weekday, we’ll bring you Omichronicles, tales from the lighter side of the O-surge and advice to keep you on track.

Trying to avoid household spread? Group chats could be a winner

A flat messaging system has been the key to keeping Omicron at bay for Alice and her Auckland flat of five. One flatmate has Covid-19. The rest are avoiding it like, well ... the plague.

The flat has a group chat going. If the sick flatmate needs the kitchen she’ll fire a message, and it gives everyone time to flee the communal areas.

“She’ll go into the kitchen wearing a mask and wipe everything down before she leaves.”

It’s worked so far, and the rest of the house is still testing negative. The plan might change if someone else in the house catches the virus, she said. But for now the house rule is vigilance.

‘I’ve genuinely been surviving off ice-blocks and crackers’

Rose lives in a flat of five in Wellington. Four of them have Covid-19. Nobody’s had the energy for cooking, so everyone’s been surviving off snacks dropped off by family and friends.

Rose has barely been able to eat at all – she was hit hard by the virus, and she’s only now starting to feel like she can keep food down.

“I think I’ve genuinely been surviving off ice-blocks and crackers.”

Rose and one other flatmate are vegan, so they usually cook together. Nobody’s done any cooking so far, but they’ve just had a grocery delivery, so she said they’ll be sorted when everyone’s feeling well enough to start again.

Marcus lives in a flat of seven in Dunedin and everyone’s isolating and sick at the moment. He’s living off curries from his mum and a food drop-off service from Otago Polytechnic. The free care-package set Marcus up with things like marshmallows, cereal, rice crackers and Oreos. And, of course, the all-important toilet paper.

Those snacks and Mum’s curries are seeing him through for now.

Students are pretty notorious for a solid booze supply, too. Alice and her flatmates are pretty confident they’ve got enough. Marcus and his flat have a few beers for the weekend, so they’re okay. As for Rose? They’re all out. It’ll be a delivery order when the time is right.

“That comes when we’re all feeling a bit better.”

With six days of isolation to go Rose said tensions may rise a bit in the flat in the coming days, though. She said there’s already been a bit of cabin fever setting in.

“Someone kicked something over on the rug, and it was a whole thing, whereas usually it would be a non-issue.”

Alice is three days into isolation. So for her the boredom hasn’t set in yet. She’s got a dog and a cat which helps. She’s also got plenty of uni work to get through. She just hasn’t done any of it yet.

Are you isolating from your flatmates? Or is your flat more like this?

Do you have an Omicron story to share? A question you’d like to pitch? Seen a lighter take that brought you joy? Email us at

Omichronicles March 7: My flatmates are trying to catch Covid to get it over with. Is this wise?

My flatmates are trying to catch Covid to get it over with. Is this wise?

(As reported by Stuff reporter Chris Hyde)

Yeah, nah.

As Dr Jemma Geoghegan notes, Covid-19 is a novel coronavirus - we simply don't know what its long term effect on the population will be.

"You might be young, vaccinated, boosted and everything, but the data we're seeing from overseas around long Covid (the after effects of a Covid-19 infection) are pretty worrying."

Looking at long Covid is like looking down a well, where only the first few metres are visible, but the depths are implicit. It's becoming clear, though, that young to middle-aged women are disproportionately vulnerable.

The immune response that helps women, as part of their biology, fight off the original infection can also lead to chronic inflammation causing pain, arthritis-like symptoms, ‘Covid-brain', extreme fatigue, and menstrual changes.

It's also important to note that catching Covid doesn't 'get it over and done with' as there remains a possibility of reinfections in future. As for the whole flat trying to catch it at the same time? Geoghegan says that's a particularly silly idea.

"You can't predict what your Covid will look like," she says. "There is always a risk of a severe infection, and if your whole flat is struck down at the same time, then your ability to get the care you need becomes more difficult."

Current mood

Home hack – Make your own liquid soap

We all know it’s important to keep washing our hands, especially if you are sharing a home with someone who is Covid positive.

You can turn a couple of bars of soap into months worth of hand washing just by adding water, here’s how:

You need:

A cheese grater

A bar of hard soap (scented or unscented)

4-5 cups of filtered water;

An empty, clean lotion or soap pump bottle

A funnel or pouring jug


Boil water, grate soap into small pieces, dissolve in water, remove from heat and stir till thickens.

Add water to dilute and soap to thicken as desired.

When cool, transfer to pump bottles.

Optional: Add a splash of lotion, aloe or essential oil and whisk to blend.

The King of comfort foods

Whether you’re sick, in forced isolation or just watching the world go by, most of us could use a little comfort right now. When that’s the case, it’s hard to go past a good chicken soup.

Does soup actually help when you’re feeling rough, though? In short, yes.

Nutritionist Nikki Hart wrote in Mentemia recently the increasing fluids (including soup) can help with dehydration and can also make that sore throat feel a bit better. That’s not all, though. She quoted research by Dr Stephen Rennard that ingredients in soup can “dampen down inflammatory action”.

What that all mean, basically, is yes, soup helps when you’re sick. If you can’t face making you’re own, Hart said the research showed reaching for tinned soup will have the same effect.

“Doesn’t matter. How cool is that, right?”

Check out our recipe for this great (and easy) restorative chicken soup.