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Mask up or make out? Dating is tricky during the pandemic, but according to a new video by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and the dating app Hinge, it's possible to make connections and still avoid COVID-19.
"Dating during the COVID-19 pandemic: It's not simple, but it's definitely possible," Murthy says in a video released Tuesday by Hinge. “A lot of people have really struggled during this pandemic and if you’re feeling that way just remember that you are not alone.”
Murthy lists off multiple tips for singles on the company’s pandemic dating resource page. He kicks off the list by pushing for want-to-be-love-birds to get vaccinated: “Recognize that getting vaccinated is the single most important thing we can do to reduce our risk.”
When the topic of kissing comes up, Murthy says, “figuring out when to go in for that first kiss is always a bit awkward” and to check off the risk assessment checklist before taking that step. Consider whether they are fully vaccinated, if they have interacted with anyone who isn't and if they take precautions such as wearing a mask.
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The good news – we don't have to give up on dating or relationships, Murthy said.
"This pandemic has really given many of us an appreciation for how important our relationships are," said Murthy, who is married with two children. "We need people in our lives to get through tough times, to celebrate good times."
Hinge says that out of its millions of users, 79% are currently looking for a relationship right now and since its mobile launch in 2013, 30 million people have gone on dates.
The latest campaign effort is another way to encourage COVID-19 safely among singles, according to Hinge. In June, the dating app gave users the option to share their vaccination status on their profiles.
Safety regarding dating and intimacy during the pandemic has long been a topic of discussion, as it does bring some risk.
“If you are looking for a friend, sit in a room, put a mask on and chat a bit. If you want to go a little bit more intimate, well, then that’s your choice regarding a risk," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in April 2020 during an interview with Good Luck America.
He added that sex from dating apps during the pandemic was a "relative risk."
Harvard Medical School recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but if both parties "are healthy and feeling well, are practicing social distancing and have had no known exposure to anyone with COVID-19, touching, hugging, kissing, and sex are more likely to be safe."
Follow Keira Wingate on Twitter: @KeiraRenee
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy gives COVID dating tips in Hinge video