It’s not just for one night stands anymore.
As coronavirus continues to ravage the globe, concerned citizens in the US and abroad are turning to an unlikely source to find info on the outbreak: Tinder.
Despite the dating app being banned in China, Tinder’s Gold and Premium members are able to employ the “Passport” feature to swipe right on web users from Wuhan, China, BuzzFeed News reports.
As a result, they’re able to circumvent state propaganda and get the COVID-19 skinny straight from the source.
“Setting my Tinder to Wuhan so I can get the real scoop on what’s going on,” tweeted Wisconsin-based user @drethelin on Jan. 27, right before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a public health emergency.
Turns out that Madison “cheesehead” wasn’t the only one.
“With all the scaremongering and fake news, I just wanted to find out about the experiences of the people who were actually there,” James, an expat in Vietnam who asked that his last name be withheld, told BuzzFeed. He even took to the blog MediaVsReality to transcribe his Tinder correspondence with some of his Wuhan sources, who were more than willing to spill the beans on the global health crisis.
“I’m afraid things aren’t getting better at the moment,” posted one Chinese Tinder birdie on Jan. 26, adding that “all kinds of transportation have been canceled and private mobiles are not allowed in the street.”
Another wrote that they were “encouraged to stay indoors,” and that both public transit and bridges had been cordoned off from commuters.
A different kind of lovesick
Some dating app trustees have even been able to inadvertently find romance through the unorthodox COVID-19 recon measure. User Bianca matched with a Wuhan railway worker, who she plans to meet up with when the pandemic dust settles.
Plans “aren’t exclusive yet since we haven’t met but we get along well so far,” said the lovesick Tinder user, who added that the situation in Wuhan was improving while her hometown is going downhill. Indeed, recent WHO figures show that while coronavirus cases are growing outside China, intranational infections are on the decline.
This isn’t the first time Tinder has provided valuable insight into coronavirus. Last week, users discovered that the dating app included a pop-up warning about the dangers of the highly contagious and potentially deadly disease, which has spread to more than 750 people in the US and has caused at least 28 deaths.
Coronavirus map: Confirmed cases in the US
The advisory includes a helpful checklist of coronavirus countermeasures, which is consistent with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: vigilant hand hygiene, avoiding touching your face and avoiding contact with infected individuals.
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