Student eats raw onion in TikTok clip to illustrate his battle with long Covid

Harriet Brewis
·2 min read

A student has filmed himself chomping into a raw onion as if it were an apple to illustrate the long-lasting effects of coronavirus.

Nicholas Runcie posted the clip on TikTok to show the impact Covid-19 has had on his sense of taste more than two months since he believes he contracted the disease.

In the video, Mr Runcie tells his followers: “Update on the Covid. Have I regained my sense of taste or smell? No I haven’t.

“I have regained some small things, but the majority of stuff no longer tastes the same.

“Coffee tastes of just burnt. I had ramen from Wagamama – it didn’t taste of anything.

“Most food has no flavour anymore.”

He then explains that he now suffers from a “weird gag reflex” which he thinks might be related to his suspected case of the virus.

“I don’t know if it is specifically Covid but it could quite possibly be that,” he says, “because now, whenever I go outside into the cold I start gagging and throw up. Every day.”

In a later update, the Edinburgh student clarified that he does not throw up every day, but does “gag relentlessly”.

He also explained that he has not lost his sense of taste entirely, and that he can taste some small things.

“The only way to describe it is it’s like the volume of flavour has been turned down,” he says in the new video. “Just like the volume of music, it’s so low that you can hardly hear it.”

He also shared his frustrations at being criticised for being a student.

“Being labelled a student is synonymous with being irresponsible and going clubbing,” he says in the clip posted on Monday night.

But, he insists: “I followed all the restrictions and was so careful, I was completely shocked I had Covid.

“People like to jump to their own conclusions,” he said, stressing that it is not fair to tar all young people with the same brush.

One in 20 people with Covid-19 continue to suffer symptoms eight weeks later, while one in 50 still struggle after three months, a major study published last month suggests.

The research from King’s College London, using data from the Covid Symptom Study app, found potentially hundreds of thousands of people in the UK – and millions worldwide – have long Covid.

Symptoms of long Covid include ongoing fatigue, ongoing loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular problems and mental health issues.

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