What did you do next?
I quickly made my exit, because I remembered reading an article about two Chinese health care workers and one sentence stuck out to me — that one of the women lost her sense of taste and smell. I went home, got my godmother on FaceTime, opened my spice cupboard and tried sniffing all of the spices. I sliced fresh ginger and practically put it up my nose and couldn’t smell it.
Is anosmia your only symptom?
I don’t have a cough or a fever, but I’m exhausted. And because I can’t smell, food is bland. Eggplant Parmesan tastes like a hot wet book.
Has your sense of smell returned?
Since I can’t smell, I don’t really have an appetite, but I’m still trying to eat nutritiously. After several days, my sense of smell briefly came back: I was making myself what I would normally make, a kale salad, and surprisingly, it did not taste like serrated paper. But shortly after that it went away again.
How would you describe anosmia to others?
It’s deeply unsettling. It’s a constant reminder that something is deeply wrong with your body. You can perk up and have a good moment or two, but then you eat your Cheerios and your heart misses a beat.
A correction: Tuesday’s briefing cited an article that misstated the regulatory status of the drug thalidomide. It was approved in the 1990s for leprosy and, later, cancer treatment; it is not the case that it was never approved in the U.S.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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