COVID-19 patients are less likely to lose their sense of smell and taste as the novel coronavirus continues to mutate into new strains, according to new research.
Researchers at the University of Virginia analyzed data on more than 3.5 million COVID-19 positive patients. Studies have shown that the loss of sense of smell and taste among COVID-19 patients has dropped significantly compared with the early days of the epidemic in 2020 as new variants have emerged.
The study also showed that patients infected with the Omicron variant had a 17% chance of losing their sense of smell and taste, while the Delta and Alpha variants were 44% and 50% infected, respectively.
A lack of sense of smell and taste puts people at risk of malnutrition, dehydration and unhealthy weight loss. It can also encourage people to add too much sugar or salt to their food, increasing the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
In addition, the researchers are exploring whether vaccination status plays a role in reducing the rate of smell and taste loss. Meanwhile, they are developing an implant that can restore the body’s sense of smell.
Some schools in the United States have reinstated mask requirements
As COVID-19 cases increase in the United States, some school districts, particularly in the Northeast, are reportedly reinstating mask requirements and recommendations for the first time since the spike in Omicron variant cases ended.
While reinstatement of mask requests is not as widespread as it was in the early days of COVID-19. But school districts in Maine, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have reinstated mask requirements. And in parts of Massachusetts, where the coronavirus transmission rate is high, authorities have also recommended wearing masks at school.
An average of 79,000 cases are reported daily in the United States, a 50 percent increase in the past two weeks, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
CDC: The Caribbean is listed
“Level 3” high-risk areas
According to CNN, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added the Caribbean region to its COVID-19 high-risk category. In the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, the coronavirus risk was raised from level 2 to Level 3.
Overall, the CDC’s coronavirus risk update for travel was little changed this week. In addition, the CDC recently overhauled its regional COVID-19 risk rating system for travelers. The “level 3” COVID-19 high-risk category is now the highest level of risk; “Level 2” is considered a moderate risk, and “level 1” is “low.” The previous “level 4” highest risk category was reserved for exceptional circumstances, such as an extremely high number of local cases, the emergence of a worrying new variant, or the collapse of the health care infrastructure.
Currently, no destination is listed as a “level 4” COVID-19 risk category under the new system