Woman wearing a surgical mask
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People Are Temporarily Losing Their Sense Of Taste And Smell And It Could Be COVID-19

One of the more unusual symptoms of COVID-19 may be a temporary loss of the senses of taste and smell, according to researchers and many people who have contracted the novel coronavirus. Some otherwise asymptomatic individuals have been alarmed to wake up without any ability to smell or taste anything, or a significantly reduced ability, only to find out that it may be a sign of the illness.

So far it’s only a theory, and most evidence is purely anecdotal. However, it’s become enough of a thing that ear, nose and throat doctors in Britain got together and issued a joint statement urging anyone who experiences sudden and unexplained reductions in their sense of smell and/or taste should self-isolate as soon as they notice.

Doctors in Italy have noticed the same phenomenon.

“Almost everybody who is hospitalized has this same story,” said Dr. Marco Metra, chief of the cardiology department at the main hospital in Brescia. “You ask about the patient’s wife or husband. And the patient says, ‘My wife has just lost her smell and taste but otherwise she is well.’ So she is likely infected, and she is spreading it with a very mild form.”

People online have been backing up these reports with their own (miserable) experiences:

Just remember—the symptom is temporary. You will be able to smell and taste chocolate again.