Coronavirus patients around the world have reported the complete disappearance of their ability to smell, a condition called anosmia. Large surveys from Iran and the United Kingdom suggest that 50–60 percent of people infected with the virus have experienced anosmia. Smaller studies from Germany and Italy have found similar proportions. Anecdotal evidence of a link between the coronavirus and anosmia has been reported in nearly every country where the virus is known to be circulating. The experience of flavor is almost entirely attributable to the sense of smell, and many COVID-19 anosmics also report that they can no longer taste their food. […]
We tend to give little thought to smell, or else to dismiss it as a trifle. Various studies have found that a majority of young people would sooner give up their sense of smell than their smartphone or computer. But those who have the misfortune to lose it quickly change their minds.