Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz player whose positive test for the novel coronavirus triggered a shutdown by the NBA and had a cascading effect across sports leagues, reported Sunday that he has lost the senses of smell.
“Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last four days,” Gobert tweeted. “Anyone experiencing the same thing?”
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, that isn’t unusual. In a post on its website Sunday, it cited growing anecdotal evidence indicating that lost or reduced sense of smell and loss of taste are symptoms associated with COVID-19. The organization alerted ear, nose and throat physicians that both have been seen in patients who tested positive but showed no other symptoms. In the absence of allergies, sinusitis or rhinitis, the loss of smell or taste should “warrant serious consideration for self-isolation and testing,” it advised.
“We really want to raise awareness that this is a sign of infection and that anyone who develops loss of sense of smell should self-isolate,” Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, wrote in an email to The New York Times. “It could contribute to slowing transmission and save lives.”
Gobert tested positive for coronavirus March 11, leading to the postponement of Utah’s game in Oklahoma and the costly suspension of the NBA season hours later. Other leagues followed shortly thereafter and the Jazz announced that a second player, later revealed to be Donovan Mitchell, had tested positive.
Gobert has admitted to being “careless” after mockingly touching reporters’ mics and recording devices during a news conference March 9, before his positive test. He has since apologized and pledged $ 500,000 (U.S.) to efforts aimed at offering relief to workers affected by the NBA shutdown.
“I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously,” he said last week in an Instagram message. In a video posted by the NBA last week, he thanked everyone “for the positive energy” and said he was “feeling a little better every day.” He also admitted regret again about his actions. “It’s all about protecting yourself,” he said, “and the people around you. I wish I would have [taken] this thing more seriously, and I hope everyone else [will] do so because we can do it together. Take care, and stay safe.”
Teams the Jazz had played in the previous 10 days were urged to self-quarantine and a number of NBA players, including Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, have tested positive. Mitchell admitted in a “Good Morning America” interview last week that “it took a while for me to kind of cool off” toward Gobert after he tested positive.
“I read what he said and I heard what he said. I’m glad he’s doing OK, I’m glad I’m doing well. I’m just happy, to be honest — I hate to say that it’s two of us — but that it wasn’t the whole [Jazz travelling] party. At the end of the day, neither him nor I have children at home — I have some teammates that have children, some staff that have children at home. So I’m glad that we were able to contain it as much as possible.”
Ultimately, though, he doesn’t know how he contracted the virus and on Sunday he has shown no symptoms.
“I can walk down the street; if it wasn’t public knowledge that I was sick, you wouldn’t know it,” he told “GMA.” “That’s the scariest part about this virus, is that you may seem fine, be fine, and you may never know who you may be talking to, and who they’re going home to.”
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