Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash
and the video is pretty funny.

A 19-year-old found out she had COVID-19 because of a TikTok Starbucks drink taste-test challenge. The girl, Maryn Short, was filming a TikTok of herself trying a Starbucks drink, and when she couldn’t really taste it, she became worried.

The drink was supposed to taste similar to a caramel macchiato, which Short said she orders “a lot.” She was therefore expecting it to be “super sweet,” since the drink consisted of whipped cream, five pumps of vanilla syrup, and three pumps of caramel. But when she tried it she could only make out a faint, creamy, sweet flavor to it. “It was almost like I was drinking sweet milk. I could tell it was sweet, but there was no flavor at all,” Short said. “It was really strange. It’s hard to describe.”

In the TikTok that has now gone viral, Short’s confusion and panic is noticeable in her reaction after taking a sip. “This has no flavor. Why can’t I taste it? Do I have COVID?”

@mcfluflu

#greenscreen I’ll keep you guys posted omg… #covid19 #coronavirus

♬ original sound – maryn

Short said that aside from the loss of taste, she had had no noticeable symptoms, except for noting that Sunday, the day before she filmed the TikTok, she woke up with some stuffiness, but figured it was probably because of the weather.

After leaving work on Monday, she decided to stop at a local Starbucks to try a drink that was trending on TikTok. The drink was promoted as a delicious and inexpensive order, and Maryn “was excited to try it.” But excitement quickly turned to concern as she realized she couldn’t taste it much, figuring either it was an issue with the drink, or an issue with her. 

“I almost was wondering if [the barista] put too much heavy cream in it. And then I really thought about it, and I was like, Oh my goodness.

Short called her mom immediately after filming the video, and was advised  to get tested right away.  Then, she called her employers to let them know, and thankfully, Short said they were all “super understanding.”  She took a rapid-response COVID test the next day and as she waited for the results she decided to record herself tasting other foods, which would be a good way to test her palate, and also serve as a reminder for other young people to get tested. She tried pizza,  which she said she could taste, but it was still “faint”.

@mcfluflu

♬ original sound – maryn

Her mom advised her to take the videos down at least until the results came back and she knew if she really had coronavirus or not. Not wanting to send the wrong message, Short took her mom’s advice. 

 “My mom asked me to take it down because at the time I didn’t know I had COVID. She was like, ‘Look, if you haven’t gotten tested yet, take it down.’ So I did,” said Short.  She said she reposted them not long after though, explaining that she had discussed it with her friends and she thought the video was funny.  “COVID is not funny, but I thought the video itself was funny because…I have very unfortunate events that constantly happen to me. I was like, Of course something like this would happen to me.” She said. 

After getting tested, Short also posted a video talking about it, encouraging people to get tested, and relating her experience with the rapid-response test.

@mcfluflu

I GOT TESTED!!! I’ll be getting the results from my CVS test in 2-5 business days

♬ original sound – maryn

The test results came back positive, and Short decided to take a second test to make sure. The second test confirmed the results of the first, and Short has since been quarantining and plans to continue doing so for at least 10 more days, or until she is no longer symptomatic.  

Short said that thankfully, aside from the loss of taste a little stuffiness, she hasn’t suffered many other COVID-19 symptoms. Except for running a fever earlier this week, she reported feeling more or less fine. 

She also revealed that she was especially surprised she contracted the virus since she has been following public health guidelines, and staying home except for work and buying groceries.

Short commented that she was glad she put the TikTok back up, as not only did it serve as a much needed comic relief, but the video is also a powerful reminder to others that anyone can get the virus and spread it unknowingly. As Maryn’s experience shows, symptoms aren’t always super noticeable or pronounced, so getting tested, watching out for even mild signs of the virus, and wearing a mask in public is very important.  In fact, 85% of Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, so it is always good to get tested and wear a mask for your own, and most importantly, for other people’s protection. 

“I’m glad I did put [the TikTok] back up because a lot of people that were commenting said I made people realize they should get tested,” Short said. “Whenever people think of COVID, especially kids my age, we’re told to please stay safe for our elders. I don’t think people think about people in their teens or twenties getting COVID.”

She also added that “COVID doesn’t have an age limit. It doesn’t have an expiration date. It’s just so new and it’s constantly evolving,” she said. “Be responsible, follow guidelines — I know guidelines are different for every state, but don’t be defiant…It really upsets me because people think they’re above whatever’s happening right now.”

We hope everyone follows Maryn’s advice and stays safe by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and getting tested if they feel they might have had contact with the virus.