ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit still can't smell or taste anything 5 months after COVID-19 diagnosis

·2-min read
ESPN football analyst Kirk Herbstreit
Kirk Herbstreit said he hasn't tasted a meal since December. (Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kirk Herbstreit tested positive for COVID-19 back in December.

On Tuesday, the ESPN college football analyst delivered a tough update about his battle with the coronavirus.

Herbstreit still can’t smell or taste anything five months later.

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“Haven’t tasted a meal since late December,” he tweeted, in part. “After five months … is this my new normal or will taste and smell come back???”

Herbstreit, 51, has been with ESPN for nearly three decades, and plays a huge part in both the network’s college football coverage in general and in “College GameDay.” 

Herbstreit actually had to cover the Ohio State-Clemson semifinal game in the College Football Playoff remotely after contracting the coronavirus.

How common is losing smell, taste with COVID-19?

Outside of the more serious symptoms connected to the coronavirus, a loss of taste and smell is one of the more common side effects of the virus since the pandemic began last year.

According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, up to 80% of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus have had “subjective complaints of smell or taste loss.”

The severity of smell and taste loss will differ between individuals — some have lost it completely while others only noticed minor changes — which makes it difficult to determine how widespread this symptom actually is. And, as smell is necessary to actually taste, the two symptoms are often connected, per the report.

It’s also unclear how long those symptoms last after recovering from the virus. Some regain it almost instantly while others, like Herbstreit, take much longer.

About 52% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Tuesday night, and about 63% have received at least one dose, according to The New York Times. Vermont has fully vaccinated about 56% of its residents, the No. 1 state in the country, and Mississippi is last at about 27%.

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