Wanna Date? Don't Come Near Me
Wanna Date? Don't Come Near Me
Dating apps are discouraging physical meetings and suggesting virtual hookups instead
Olivia Carville and Nate Lanxon

Stephane, a 32-year-old financier in Manhattan, recently updated his Bumble profile to read: “Healthy male with a strong immune system and robust Purell supply.” A potential partner quickly shot back: “Tell me your secret—how did you get a robust Purell supply? I had to fight a woman at the grocery store for a can of tuna.” It was good to hear from another human being, but Stephane never responded. Because, well, Covid-19.

Even as the coronavirus ushers in a fraught new era of online dating, millennials—trapped under indefinite workfrom-home policies and banned from bars—have stepped up their swiping, texting, and flirting. At Bumble, an app where women make the first move, active users in the U.S. rose 8% during the second week of March, according to researcher App Annie. Ship, which lets friends swipe on behalf of other users, says message traffic jumped 60% nationwide in the week to March 16, with far sharper increases in Seattle and New York after social distancing rules were introduced. OkCupid says people are chatting more—often about the outbreak: The app logged a 188% increase in mentions of “coronavirus” on profiles from January to February.

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March 30 - April 06, 2020