COVID-19 survivors who lost their sense of taste and smell may have to wait up to a year to fully recover, a new study found.
Researchers followed 97 COVID-19 patients who lost their sense of taste and smell for an entire year and asked them to complete a survey every four months, according to the study published Thursday in JAMA Network Open.
Out of 97 patients, 51 of them also were asked to undergo objective testing to corroborate the self-reported surveys. At eight months, 49 out of the 51 patients had fully recovered their sense of taste and smell.
One of the two patients who had not recovered was able to smell, but abnormally, while the other still couldn’t smell by the end of the study. While 46 COVID-19 patients did not undergo objective testing, they all reported a full recovery after a full year.
Also in the news:
► A “no-spectator games” remains an option for the Tokyo Olympics, which open officially in four weeks, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee said Friday. Medical experts say the safest Olympics would be with no fans because the coronavirus.
► More than 15 months into the coronavirus pandemic, tens of thousands of seafarers vital to the global shipping industry remain stranded at sea or in ports, unable to leave their ships or get to new assignments due to global travel restrictions.
► The first cruise ship to board passengers at a U.S. port in 15 months is set to sail Saturday from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in a symbolic stride toward normalcy that will be watched closely by health experts as vaccines curb the coronavirus’ spread in the country.
► South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill Thursday preventing people from suing companies over COVID-19. The new law protects businesses and other groups as long as they follow guidelines to protect people from the virus. Dozens of other states have passed similar measures.
► The city of San Francisco told its 37,000 employees they must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 within 10 weeks of the Food and Drug Administration giving final approval to a coronavirus vaccine, or lose their jobs. This would make San Francisco the first large U.S. city to require vaccination of all city employees.
► Britain on Thursday added 17 countries and territories, including Dominica, Barbados and the Turks and Caicos Islands, to its “green” list of safe travel destinations amid pressure from airlines and travel companies to relax COVID-19 restrictions.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 603,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 180 million cases and more than 3.9 million deaths. More than 151.3 million Americans have been fully vaccinated — nearly 45.6% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: College applications soared for the 2021-22 school year as thousands of students took advantage of relaxed test score policies during COVID-19. America’s colleges, on average, experienced a jump in applications of at least 11%. Read more here.
Visiting Hawaii is about to get easier for vaccinated travelers.
Beginning July 8, the state will end its pre-travel COVID testing requirement for visitors from the U.S. mainland who are fully vaccinated, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Thursday. Travelers will need to show their vaccine card as well as upload it to the state’s Safe Travels website.
“I know that this change has been widely anticipated and it will make it easier for residents to return home and for visitors to come and enjoy our islands,” Ige said at a news conference.
Ige has said for weeks that Hawaii would lift travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors when 60% of the state’s population was fully vaccinated. The figure has been stuck at 57% and Ige said earlier this week that it wouldn’t meet that level ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend. He said Thursday it expects to reach the benchmark on July 8. Read more here.
– Dawn Gilbertson
The White House says it will provide Afghanistan with 3 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to help with a coronavirus outbreak fueled by the Delta variant.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre made the announcement aboard Air Force One on Thursday as President Joe Biden flew to Raleigh, North Carolina, to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. The announcement also came a day before Biden meets with Afghanistan’s leaders at the White House on Friday.
Jean-Pierre says the Johnson & Johnson vaccines — only one shot is required — could be shipped as soon as next week. The U.S. is also providing oxygen and other supplies to Afghanistan.
The 3 million doses are part of an overall donation of 55 million doses to the world that the White House announced earlier this week.
After leading the world in vaccinations, Israel is once again requiring people to wear masks in indoor public spaces after the arrival of the highly contagious Delta variant drove new coronavirus cases.
The country had lifted nearly all restrictions after vaccinating about 85% of its adult population in its initial vaccine rollout. But Dr. Nachman Ash, who is leading the coronavirus response, said 227 new cases were confirmed on Thursday, according to Israeli media.
The Health Ministry said masks must be worn indoors in public places starting midday Friday. Earlier this week, the government had already postponed the planned reopening of the country to vaccinated tourists, originally set for July 1, until the beginning of August.
Contributing: The Associated Press.