- The Washington Times - Friday, November 19, 2021

More than 1 million people in the U.S. who contracted COVID-19 might have lost their sense of smell for six months or longer, a new study revealed.

Anywhere from 700,000 to 1.6 million individuals with COVID-19 in the U.S. could have experienced a loss of smell lasting for months, according to the study by researchers at the Washington University of St. Louis. 

“In the last couple of months, my colleagues and I noted a dramatic increase in the number of patients seeking medical attention for olfactory dysfunction,” Jay Piccirillo, an otolaryngologist at Washington University who authored the study, told Gizmodo.

The researchers began studying the number of daily new cases of coronavirus reported between Jan. 13, 2020, and March 7, 2021, by the COVID Tracking Project. They calculated the incidence of acute COVID olfactory dysfunction to be 52.7% and the recovery rate from this condition at 95.3%. 

The estimates of people who’ve lost their sense of smell for months could be an undercount, the researchers said in their letter. They estimate that COVID-related cases of chronic olfactory dysfunction represent a 5.3% to 12% relative increase in the total number of people with the condition. 



A research letter about the study was published Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Shen Wu Tan can be reached at stan@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide