The Oregon Health Authority says it's OK for people to kiss on dates — but advises that it's only safe to do so if both parties have been vaccinated.
What are the details?
In a headline-making Facebook post, the Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday announced that it had revised its safe-dating practices to reflect the new position.
"If you're both vaccinated and taking COVID-19 precautions, intimacy is likely to be safe," the group wrote in the post.
Suggestions include getting vaccinated, considering "outdoor activities," and more.
"Meeting in person?" the graphic asks. "If your date has potential COVID-19 symptoms, postpone for 10 days."
"In a crowd outdoors or inside a public space? Please wear a mask and physically distance," it adds.
The organization captioned the graphic, "Across Oregon, college students are returning to campuses and finding that dating and relationships are different than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes navigating the world of dating, relationships and sex can be confusing and awkward, but with COVID-19 there are additional concerns and health risks. Consider communicating your level of comfort and expectations."
The health authority adds that if students — or anyone else — plan to be intimate, it's important to consider that "COVID-19 can be spread by close, physical contact including kissing, sex, and other acts that will likely exchange bodily fluids."
Image source: Facebook screenshot/https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=362412575419149
This is a stark contrast to advice the authority handed down earlier in the pandemic, according to a report from Fox News, when it stated that "[y]ou are your own safest sex partner."
"Kissing can easily pass COVID-19," the advice read at the time. "Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts."
In 2020, a study from researchers at Harvard University found that people engaging in sex should perhaps consider wearing a face mask during intercourse in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The research, which was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, ranked intimate situations based on their individual likelihood of transmitting COVID-19.
The riskiest sexual scenario at the time was engaging in intercourse with people other than those with whom a person was quarantined, and it was suggested that people avoid kissing or any other oral actions that may involve the exchange of bodily fluids.
At the time, the study's authors wrote, "SARS-CoV-2 is present in respiratory secretions and spreads through aerosolized particles. It may remain stable on surfaces for days. On the basis of this information, all types of in-person sexual activity probably carry risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Infected individuals have the potential to spread respiratory secretions onto their skin and personal objects, from which the virus can be transmitted to a sexual partner. Because many SARS-CoV-2–infected people are asymptomatic, HCPs are left with little to offer beyond guidance to not engage in any in-person sexual activity."