Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Surgeon General Vivek Murthy gave advice Tuesday on dating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Murthy used the dating app Hinge as the forum to dole out the advice.
"Dating during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not simple, but it's definitely possible," Murthy said in a video on Hinge's website. "A lot of people have really struggled during this pandemic, so if you're feeling that way just remember you're not alone. A lot of people out there have been looking for more human connection during these past 18 months."
"Our relationships are still important, if anything they are more important than ever," he added. "The pandemic has taught us that, so we don't have to give up on dating or relationships we got to pursue them."
Murthy outlined three tools that could help people reconnect to the dating scene. He said that "getting vaccinated is the single most important thing," to reduce COVID-19 risk, and also advised meeting outdoors since its lower risk than indoors, and getting a same-day rapid test ideally within 24 hours of the date.
Still, Murthy warned COVID-19 can present with many different types of symptoms, which may include cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, so if someone has any of those symptoms they should not go on a date if they haven't been tested.
He also laid out a list of questions to ask before a date to assess risk, including whether the person was vaccinated, interacted with groups of people who may not be vaccinated, and wore masks.
"Figuring out when to go in for that first kiss is always a bit awkward, and what's particularly awkward is asking questions in that moment," Murthy said. "Don't feel embarrassed to bring up these questions about safety."
Murthy, who is married with two children, is also the author of the bestselling book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.