Hand sanitizer is practically worth its weight in gold, and college campuses are closing like dominoes. It's hard to focus on anything but coronavirus, which spreads primarily through human contact, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This pandemic begs the question: How are people dating during the coronavirus outbreak? It depends — some are taking precautions and changing up their habits, while others are continuing life as usual.
In New York, where the coronavirus is more prevalent than most other states, some single people are on edge. Cheyenne B., 24, who typically uses dating apps very regularly (and who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy reasons), tells Elite Daily, "I will not date during this time. I refuse to put myself and others at risk. The last date I went on, the guy and I talked about how terrified we were of getting coronavirus, and even worse, spreading it to people who fall in the high-risk category. We both have effectively ghosted each other.”
Alexsis Venable, 23, says she's "a little more hesitant to go out on dates." The New Jersey resident explains, "I know some people are touchy-feely, so if I was on a date and someone would like to hold hands or touch my face, I would be taken aback."
Some people are nervous, but find their dates are not. Gen, 22, is "very worried," adding, “I can’t see myself going home with or even kissing a random guy anytime soon." (She requested her last name be withheld.) As for her dates? The Los Angeles resident notes, “I think guys are pushing less to meet up in person from apps than they might have once. In person, though, I find that guys don’t really seem to care about the coronavirus over their own desires.”
Not everyone is so worried about the contagion. Paula, 22, lives in Los Angeles, requests her last name be withheld, and says, "I haven't really changed my dating life since the outbreak." She continues to use Tinder and Hinge, but she did question if a recent date who told her he was recovering from a cold may have actually had coronavirus instead. She adds, “I’ve noticed that having and sharing hand sanitizer has become such a normal date activity since the outbreak.”
Coronavirus has become a buzzy topic on dating apps and dates, according to everyone Elite Daily spoke with. Neha Iyer, 21, says she's seen a few dating app bios that mention the virus. "My favorite one has to be, ‘I have some sick coronavirus conspiracy theories, swipe right to find out,'" she says.
Hinge reports no change in user activity since the virus outbreak, according to a spokesperson, and Bumble is still collecting data. While Tinder declined to comment, a rep emphasized users will encounter an in-app card that says, "Your wellbeing is our #1 priority," along with World Health Organization tips about staying healthy, including "maintaining social distance in public gatherings."
If you choose to keep dating, matchmaker and dating expert Tammy Shaklee suggests opting for one-on-one dates rather than group dates, and choosing date night (or afternoon) spots that are less likely to be densely populated — like walking a trail or a botanical garden off-season, or having a picnic in a park. She encourages people to voice their opinions and concerns instead of going along with a date you worry might put you or others at a higher risk. "Folks should respect when one is aware of what’s going on in the world and doesn’t want to take higher-risk chances, but instead proposes safer alternatives and modifications to live a more responsible life. It shows maturity,” Shaklee says.
Shaklee also recommends turning what would normally be a physical first date into a virtual one. It's not a bad idea when you consider that swiping right is virus-free. “It’s one way to stay connected to real people without having to meet in the physical world," says a rep for Bumble.
To contain the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. If you are sick, it recommends staying home, wearing a face mask, and covering your coughs and sneezes. If you live in a community where coronavirus is spreading, it recommends putting distance between yourself and other people.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.