The Reason COVID-Positive TikTokers Are Filming Themselves Eating

A few days ago, the New York Post ran a story about Shannon Roche and Cammie Cooke, a couple of TikTok users who have started filming themselves tasting foods. The reason for this is that both had contracted COVID-19 and their senses of taste are gone. "I can't taste pumpkin flavors, but I can taste my caramel iced coffee," Shannon Roche told the outlet. And while she could recognize garlic, she couldn't even taste that: "I knew what it was just by the texture." Cooke, a college sophomore, experienced similar symptoms but used them as a party trick by downing what for many are harsh, unpalatable drinks.

Videos showing them trying to figure out what they are eating without the benefit of taste have gone viral, with fans citing the videos are helping to raise awareness of what suffering from the coronavirus is really like — so more people will take it seriously.

That's because in addition to simply not knowing what you're eating, the psychological effects of the virus side effect are very real. One sufferer reported to Bustle about losing her sense of taste, "I found it more emotionally taxing than expected, because I realized that a lot of my stress-relieving activities (having a cup of tea, baking) were no longer enjoyable." Additionally, even after five months, the effects of having COVID still remained. "A lot of my favorite foods are absolutely repulsive to me now, and don't taste anything like they used to," she said.

Loss of taste and smell are now reported as common symptoms of the virus

Since April, there has been a sense that the coronavirus affects our ability to taste and smell food. The BBC reported that although neither the World Health Organization nor Public Health England had included these losses as symptoms, experts were already advocating that people who noticed a loss of taste and smell should self-isolate. But by August CNN was reporting this was indeed a symptom. 

According to a study of 590 people, conducted by University College London, and that the BBC shared on October 2, 80 percent of people who reported losing either their sense of taste or smell had the coronavirus. While this doesn't mean that all patients will exhibit this symptom, it does mean that if you have lost your sense of smell or taste, there is a high likelihood that you have contracted the coronavirus. At this point, the loss of smell can be an even better indicator than coughing, the previous top symptom. 

The probability of whether this symptom will remain a long term malady is currently debated. Some experts, as reported by KXAN, fear that this will be permanent while Business Insider cites people who say it will extend for months. Either way, it seems some TikTokers are having a little fun tasting hot sauce and booze until their senses return — and maybe raising awareness in the process.