Coronavirus questions answered: Are the loss of taste and smell senses early signs you’re infected?

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Dr. L. Anthony Cirillo, director of government affairs of U.S. Acute Care Solutions, and Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil, physician director at Metropolis Pain Medicine,  joined “Special Report with Bret Baier” Tuesday to answer viewer questions related to the coronavirus pandemic.


Question: I live about 150 yards downwind from an open-air coronavirus testing center. Do I run the risk of an airborne infection?

“I would say that the risk from that is extremely low. We know that social distancing — staying six feet apart is is already a good safe distance,” Cirillo said. “One hundred and fifty yards would be a pretty safe distance to be from anyone who we know has the virus. So I would say they are still pretty safe.”

Question: Is it true that the loss of taste and smell are early signs of coronavirus infection? And if you are still reporting to your job, should you quarantine if you have that issue?

“The World Health Organization is looking at that right now. That’s not one of the classic symptoms that we’ve been looking for, which is cough, fever, shortness of breath. But they’re looking at it because some early reports from China and from ear, nose and throat surgeons are suggesting that those might be symptoms,” Nampiaparampil said. “So I would say just based on Dr. Fauci’s press conference recently and the president’s, if you’re in a hotspot like New York City and you have those symptoms and it’s possible to quarantine yourself, go ahead and do that to be safe. On the other hand, if you’re in other parts of the country where there’s very little penetration of this illness, it should be OK to go ahead and continue to work.”

Question: I’m hearing a lot of information about coronavirus and its relation to the immune system. There’s a lot of products I’ve seen out there that advertise boosting your immune system or something like that. Are any of those products helpful?

“I would say that there are certainly things that we can do to be healthy and to keep our immune systems healthy. Those include healthy diets, diets that include a wide variety of vitamins and minerals,” Cirillio said. “So I would say that the best advice is not just for now, but on an ongoing basis, is that people should have healthy diets, healthy exercise. Those are the things that help our immune system both today and for the future.”

Question: What do we do about packages? Do we keep them outside? Wipe them down? 

“These government-funded researchers sprayed the virus, sort of in a hairspray-type form to different surfaces. And in the best case scenario, the virus survived for about a day,” Nampiaparampil said. “So for most of us, we’re not exposed to a virus in that form. So I would say for most people, it should be OK to just take food or take whatever else materials out of the package and then bring it in. But if you’re in a hot spot, again, take a little bit more precaution. But this, I would not think, is a major source for the spread of this virus.”


Question: What’s your biggest concern on the front lines of the fight against the virus?

“On the front lines, there are two concerns … we need more data about what percentage of the population truly is infected,” Cirillo said. “I think in some ways, the more data we get, we can be more reassuring to the public. And then the second need is that we still need personal protective equipment.”

Leave a Reply

Your compare list


Shop By Category