UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Caela Camazine realized that she had suddenly lost her ability to taste and smell on March 17, she thought it was “really weird” because she was not congested.
The State College resident, who in the previous weeks had mild symptoms of COVID-19 that mostly had subsided, didn’t connect the loss of her sense of smell — known as anosmia — with the viral disease she suspected she had contracted. Even when the Penn State senior photojournalism major finally was able to get tested a week later, and the test came back positive the next day, she didn’t realize there was a connection.
“Even my father, who is a physician, brushed off the symptom initially,” she said. “I’ve been giving my dad a hard time about this. It was only after articles were published in the big news outlets that we understood.”
Fortunately, Camazine — who was infected by the novel coronavirus during a skiing trip with her boyfriend’s family to Innsbruck, Austria, in early March — is recovering well. She self-quarantined immediately upon returning to the U.S. and her boyfriend, who also experienced mild symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, is on the mend as well. But he, too, experienced the strange, abrupt loss of smell and taste early on.