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#SanaAll: Tinder gives away free COVID test kits so matches can finally meet IRL

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Mar 17, 2021 7:27 pm

Dating app Tinder is giving out pairs of COVID-19 mail-in test kits to its users so they could finally meet (safely) in real life.

According to the dating app, as people socially distanced and were in self-isolation in 2020, users, especially Gen Zs, were swiping more and were chattier than ever. Being in quarantine also allowed digital daters to think of creative hacks for hanging out like games, movies, and wine nights.

But a year into the pandemic, the dating app now encourages some of its users to go on physical dates, with safety precautions. It recently announced it is giving away Everlywell COVID-19 mail-in test home collection kits to 500 of its users in the US, to be used for themselves and a match that they’ve been eager to meet in real life, so they can feel more confident meeting in person.

Users will be able to reserve the test kits via the app starting on March 20, and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who will take the test would need to swab their nose and ship back the kit to Everlywell. The results will be available within 24 to 48 hours.

There are many obstacles that the pandemic brought on the dating scene but the dating app believes that hope is on the horizon—especially with vaccinations already ramping up across the globe, its users are starting to be optimistic about getting back out there.

Studies show that since the start of the pandemic, more people have turned to dating apps as their way to meet new people and the number of users increased by the end of 2020.

Getting tested prior to going on physical dates to stay safe has become a practice for some who do not want to cut off their physical interactions with their potential partners. Some even called COVID-19 testing the new STD test.

However, experts have said that unless one has a high-exposure job, having tested regularly could be a waste of time and resources. Tests may also not tell if one has COVID-19 at the time of one’s date according to experts.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Sandra Kesh told Insider that while there are multiple types of COVID-19 tests available, none of the results are foolproof.

“It doesn’t tell you what’s going to happen next week. It doesn’t tell you whether you had the infection last week and you no longer are shedding enough virus to make the test turn positive,” said Kesh.

Instead of regularly getting tested, Kesh recommends asking one’s date about his or her social distancing practices, what they do for a living (if they are frequently exposed to people), their social circle, and if they wear a mask.