A customer service agent and portrait painter in their twenties suffered from COVID-19 at the beginning of the epidemic. For a few days, she ran at a high temperature and struggled to breathe. Her ability to taste and smell had vanished.
It wasn’t until midway through April 2020 that she felt well enough to return to work remotely. She didn’t know what else she’d lost until June when she finally got to see her family again after her illness. She had lost the ability to tell her father apart from her uncle.
“My dad’s voice came out of a stranger’s face,” she told investigators. The number of persons who have become face-blind after contracting COVID-19 is unknown.
To protect her anonymity, researchers simply referred to her as “Annie,” but she was one of more than 50 long-term COVID patients who reported having problems recognizing faces to a team from Dartmouth College.
Prosopagnosia or an inability to recognize faces can affect a person from birth, but brain impairment, most commonly from a stroke or brain injury, can affect anyone. Despite the fact that people vary greatly in their capacity for facial recognition, a recent study indicated that over 1% of people have trouble recognizing even persons they’ve met several times.
Some people with this illness are so severely affected that they apologize when they accidentally bump into themselves in the mirror. Others around you may be unable to recognize you if you’re in an unfamiliar setting or are wearing a hat.
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Some viewers are confused by TV shows since so many of the characters share physical traits. Joseph DeGutis, who oversaw the second research and helped establish the Boston Attention and Learning Laboratory has noted that people with prosopagnosia can face significant social difficulties.
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