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Smell and taste changes are early indicators of the COVID-19 pandemic and political decision effectiveness

Title
Smell and taste changes are early indicators of the COVID-19 pandemic and political decision effectiveness
Authors
Pierron, DenisPereda-Loth, VeronicaMantel, MarylouMoranges, MaelleBignon, EmmanuelleAlva, OmarKabous, JulieHeiske, MargitPacalon, JodyDavid, RenaudDinnella, CaterinaSpinelli, SaraMonteleone, ErminioFarruggia, Michael C.Cooper, Keiland W.Sell, Elizabeth A.Thomas-Danguin, ThierryBakke, Alyssa J.Parma, ValentinaHayes, John E.Letellier, ThierryFerdenzi, CamilleGolebiowski, JeromeBensafi, Moustafa
DGIST Authors
Pierron, Denis; Pereda-Loth, Veronica; Mantel, Marylou; Moranges, Maelle; Bignon, Emmanuelle; Alva, Omar; Kabous, Julie; Heiske, Margit; Pacalon, Jody; David, Renaud; Dinnella, Caterina; Spinelli, Sara; Monteleone, Erminio; Farruggia, Michael C.; Cooper, Keiland W.; Sell, Elizabeth A.; Thomas-Danguin, Thierry; Bakke, Alyssa J.; Parma, Valentina; Hayes, John E.; Letellier, Thierry; Ferdenzi, Camille; Golebiowski, Jerome; Bensafi, Moustafa
Issue Date
2020-12
Citation
Nature Communications, 11(1), 5152
Type
Article
Article Type
Article
ISSN
2041-1723
Abstract
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have taken drastic measures to avoid an overflow of intensive care units. Accurate metrics of disease spread are critical for the reopening strategies. Here, we show that self-reports of smell/taste changes are more closely associated with hospital overload and are earlier markers of the spread of infection of SARS-CoV-2 than current governmental indicators. We also report a decrease in self-reports of new onset smell/taste changes as early as 5 days after lockdown enforcement. Cross-country comparisons demonstrate that countries that adopted the most stringent lockdown measures had faster declines in new reports of smell/taste changes following lockdown than a country that adopted less stringent lockdown measures. We propose that an increase in the incidence of sudden smell and taste change in the general population may be used as an indicator of COVID-19 spread in the population. © 2020, The Author(s).
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11750/12807
DOI
10.1038/s41467-020-18963-y
Publisher
Nature Research
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