How Starbucks Helped One TikToker Realize She Had COVID

It's now generally acknowledged that COVID-19 brings with it a loss of both taste and smell, but for one teen, those symptoms were made more dramatic because they were captured on TikTok

Maryn Short had gone to Starbucks to pick up a new drink that had popped up on social media, and which could only be described as "super sweet" because the iced coffee beverage contained whipped cream, five pumps of vanilla syrup, and three pumps of caramel (via Buzzfeed News). It was, as she says, meant to taste like a caramel macchiato. But after the first sip, she is caught on TikTok looking perplexed before saying, "This has no flavor... why can't I taste it?", before asking the camera: "Do I have COVID?... hang on... I can't taste anything!" she says (via TikTok).

"I didn't think about COVID immediately, when I realized I couldn't taste," Short tells Today. "I initially thought maybe there was too much creamer in the drink ... I know heavy cream could kind of overpower the taste of some coffee, so I just figured that was what it was. The first time I was like 'This has no flavor.' And then I took a second sip and ... I was like 'Wait a second. Do I have COVID?'"

Short says she called her mother immediately, who asked her to get tested. She is now self-isolating and says she feels better.

The loss of taste and smell should be a reason to get tested

The loss of taste and smell have so far been the most obvious symptoms of COVID-19. Maryn Short says she had experienced some congestion but thought that had been triggered by allergies. She also said she had developed a slight fever, but has recovered. She tells Today that, "COVID can happen to anyone, and I didn't expect it to happen to me. I have been following the necessary guidelines and everything, and I don't know if I was ignorant by thinking that COVID would never happen to me ... When it did, it made me take a step back. I realized this can really come from anywhere. And I think that me posting that video did the same for a lot of people, and they're like, 'OK, maybe I should go get tested.'"

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has already previously warned that "... the one symptom that I would alert people to that really differentiates flu from COVID is loss of taste or smell. If you get that symptom, then you need to be reaching out to your health provider right away and going in and getting a COVID test," Adams told NPR. "But if you have any symptoms that are suspicious for cold or flu, contact your health provider, and they will help you think through what the process is for differentiating between cold and flu. Do not try to self-diagnose."