“Then you take on the risk of all those individuals that live in the other house,” said Wen. “Let’s say all those other people have relationships with someone else, who then have extended networks too. Now your pandemic pod is not with four roommates, it’s potentially with dozens of individuals.”
“You’re only as safe as the highest-risk person,” she added.
There is one silver lining, though, said Wen. She believes if two people are vaccinated they can safely get together.
“We don’t know this for certain, but here’s what I would say for people who are vaccinated and live alone,” said Wen. “I actually think you could pretty safely see somebody else who is vaccinated.”
Wen issued this advice, she said, with the assumption that both people are trying to mitigate their covid transmission risk by wearing masks in public, washing hands, minimizing social circles and not frequenting indoor spaces. Matches should discuss what safety precautions they’re taking before meeting up.
This recommendation also applies to us unvaccinated daters — we should all be having open conversations with our matches about what covid precautions we’re taking and in what circumstances we would feel comfortable meeting in person.
Think about this open communication the way you would talk to a potential sexual partner about the precautions you’re taking to prevent sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. If it’s not something the person is willing to discuss, then perhaps they aren’t someone with whom you want to meet up.
But, never fear. As eligibility for the covid vaccine opens up to groups that may include younger people, it’s likely vaccine status will gain more prominence in dating profiles. While vaccines were initially limited to health care workers, long-term care facility residents and those 65 and older, eligibility categories in some states are widening to include other essential workers and people with underlying medical conditions.
It also seems possible that dating app companies may eventually roll out a feature to select or highlight your vaccination status in your profile, rather than having to write it in the bio, said Jennifer Reich, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, who studies vaccine attitudes.
“I think we could imagine a range of things around covid. We could imagine fields about working from home, vaccine status, antibody status,” said Reich. “Adding these to your profile could help users figure out how they want to manage risk in their lives and what levels of risk they want to take.”
As for me, now that the dating apps are downloaded on my phone again, maybe I’ll give video dates another shot. At least until it’s summer again or I get my own vaccine — whichever comes first.
____©2021 Kaiser Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.