The dating scene is hard enough to negotiate at the best of times, but the current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘love-sick.’ Despite the challenging circumstances, the Icelanders behind dating app The One are determined not to let anything get in the way of love. This week they’ve announced a COVID-19 update for their app.
As well as divulging their name, age, sexuality and interests, The One users will now be asked to specify their COVID-19 status, choosing from the options: I have it, I have had it, I’m in quarantine and I haven’t had it. The app will then match users based on this information. It is hoped that this new feature will reduce the risk of dating amid the pandemic. The creators have also been keen to point out that even without recent modifications, online dating apps like The One are vital to helping people maintain social distancing practices in their romantic lives.
Dating may go against the medical world’s social distancing guidelines, but COVID-19 does not appear to be deterring digital Casanovas. Dating website OkCupid recently revealed that according to a survey carried out in early March, 88% of their users are still willing to go on dates in this challenging climate. It’s also been suggested by experts that dating app usage will see an upsurge as more people go into quarantine. Given this, The One’s response may be the most pragmatic. Rather than attempting to stop people meeting up, the app is arming its users with the information they need to make decisions about their love lives. What’s more, hopefully the unignorable presence of a virus emoji on potential matches’ profiles will be enough to keep COVID-19 at the forefront of users’ minds and encourage some wiser choices.
“I Have Had Coronavirus”
The dating app is working on the assumption that those who have recovered from COVID-19 will have immunity to the virus, meaning those who select ‘I have had COVID-19’ will be free to match with whomever they please. Whilst the majority of those who recover from the virus seem to develop an antibody that protects them from future infection, it is currently unclear how long this protection may last. There have also been instances of relapse in patients who supposedly have been cured of the virus. Given this concerning level of uncertainty, users would do best to remain cautious about their dating choices even if they have already recovered from the virus. Hopefully the app’s creators will monitor the progress of scientific research regarding the immune system’s response to the virus and respond accordingly in the future.
Another thing users may want to remember is that the app does not verify COVID-19 statuses. It simply trusts users to be truthful. Whilst I would hate to imagine that anyone would be twisted enough to lie about something as serious as coronavirus, the consequences of catfishing just got even more serious.
Iceland’s gathering ban means that cinemas, sports games and concerts are out of question for potential dates, so those brave enough to continue their search for ‘the one’ in these difficult times are going to have to be a little more imaginative.
One word of warning: Whilst a romantic hike might fulfil the social distancing quota, heading into the wilderness with someone you’ve never met before probably isn’t the best idea. In the interest of personal safety, it’s advisable to opt for a more public setting for your romantic rendezvous. Perhaps a stroll around Tjörnin or a visit to one of Reykjavík’s many excellent bars? But even those options will undoubtedly violate the World Health Organisation’s advice to remain six feet apart. Maybe just keep it online for now?
If you’re determined enough to pursue love (or lust) through sickness as well as health, you can find The One’s website here. All we can say is good luck and keep the hand sanitiser flowing.
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