What it’s like to be asymptomatic with COVID-19?

Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter

COVID-19 is an incredibly complex virus. Asymptomatic cases are a reason why it’s so difficult to track as these patients typically experience little to no symptoms, but are just as capable of spreading the disease.

Jersey Village junior Tim Irwin said he woke up one morning and couldn’t taste or smell at all.

“Within a couple days, I was like I’ve never had it last this long, and I’ve never had just like a complete lack of taste,” Irwin said.

Irwin called his doctor and was told the loss of taste and smell was most likely due to a nasal spray he was using for allergies. The next day his doctor called back and told him to get tested for COVID-19, stating that a loss of taste and smell was emerging as a symptom.

The test came back positive.

Kelly Craine of the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said that asymptomatic cases are a concern and a main reason why stay at home orders have been put in place.

“You may be at risk at passing this on to other people and just not realize it because you’re not having symptoms, or you don’t have those classic symptoms like a fever or difficulty breathing,” Craine said.

Irwin’s symptoms may seem nominal, yet eating without tasting is no easy task.

“It’s just a chore now like you have to eat to stay alive, but no matter what I eat, it’s gonna taste exactly the same,” Irwin said. “So I’ve been eating healthier which is nice.”

Irwin is finding new favorite foods based on different qualities. He said he has a newfound craving for celery due to its interesting texture and pineapple because it “stings your mouth.”

Irwin said he was worried that he spread the virus to others, but no one, that he knows of, has experienced any symptoms.

While he no longer has COVID-19, he said people are still refusing to be around him.

“[They] just won’t be in the same room as me, just still out of fear,” Irwin said.

Even as a recovered patient, Irwin’s abilities to taste and smell have not come back yet. He hasn’t been able to use either sense for over a month.

“I really hope it comes back,” Irwin said. “It might not.”

McLennan County’s stay at home order is set to expire on April 30.

“Even though we are lessening the restrictions, you still need to be aware that it’s out there,” Craine said.

With so many unknowns surrounding COVID-19, it’s easy to develop a sense of fear. Craine emphasized the importance of continuing to wear face coverings in public, remaining six feet apart from others and contacting your doctor with any concerns.