← Articles14 April 2020

What’s in a bubble?

What’s in a bubble?

The term ‘bubble’ first popped up decades ago in relation to a boy called David Vetter, who had a condition called severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). To avoid all contact with pathogens, he lived his life in a sterile chamber. There was a movie made about David Vetter in 1976 – The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, which starred John Travolta.

The same idea applies to the bubble we’re all being asked to live in now, except it’s nothing near as extreme. Your bubble is made up of you and anyone else you share your home with, including your pets. You’re in it to minimise potential for coming into contact with the Covid-19 virus.

Microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles explains it like this: “If it turns out someone in your bubble is incubating Covid-19, then the virus will be limited to your bubble. It won’t be able to spread any further. It also means that if no one in your bubble has the virus, then as long as you stay in your bubble, you’ll stay safe.”

To help you understand the bubble concept, which is central to the NZ government’s strategy for protecting the country from Covid-19, the Arvida health and wellness team have answered the questions they’re hearing most frequently.

Who’s in my bubble?

The only people that should be in your bubble are those that usually live in or share your household. That could be your flatmates, parents, siblings, children, and/or partner. This differs slightly for essential workers, as the bubble also includes their regular work colleagues.

During lockdown your bubble is exclusive; you can’t switch bubbles or modify it part way through the lockdown.

Can I go for a walk outside with other people?

You should only exercise with another person if they are in your bubble. Walking with those outside your bubble is not recommended – but if you do, it’s really important social distancing is observed, i.e. a two-metre distance at the very minimum maintained at all times.

What about caregivers who come to my house?

All caregivers are screened before they come into the village. However, anyone entering your home should be maintaining a two-metre distance so that they are not intruding on your bubble. If they need to provide close personal care, then they should use personal protective equipment to help protect both of you.

I live in a rest home, so who’s in my bubble?

Your bubble encompasses everyone living in your household within the rest home and includes the care and support team who look after you. Arvida care staff are required to adhere to strict screening and hygiene protocols that limit the chance of Covid-19 entering the rest home.

I live in a serviced apartment, so who’s in my bubble?

Your bubble encompasses everyone living in your apartment and includes the care and support team who look after you. Arvida care staff are required to adhere to strict screening and hygiene protocols that limit the chance of Covid-19 entering the rest home.

I live in an independent home within a retirement community, so who’s in my bubble?

Your bubble is you and anyone else living in your apartment or villa, i.e. your spouse or partner. If you move outside your home for exercise or to collect essential food or pharmaceutical supplies, you need to maintain a two-metre distance between you and any other people you encounter.

Can people outside my bubble help me with shopping?

Yes. Family and friends can go to the supermarket or pharmacy on your behalf and deliver the purchases to the village. All deliveries will need to be left with the security team at the entry gate.

Items dropped off are sanitised, repacked and then dropped off to you. We ask that only items that can be easily wiped be dropped off, i.e. items with a hard or smooth surface. It would also be helpful if family and friends can wipe down all items before delivery.

Can people outside my bubble visit me?

Sorry, but no. However you can catch up with them on the phone or with a video app like Zoom. Zoom can be installed on your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. It’s free to use with wifi. Find out more about Zoom here.

What if I need to go to the doctor?

You can still visit the doctor for an essential appointment. It’s best if you drive yourself or ask a member of your bubble to drive you. Some doctors are doing consults over the phone or via Zoom. You need to talk to your village manager or care team to make them aware of your visit.