KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's been six months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern.
Patients who have tested positive for coronavirus told 41 Action News they want people to take the virus seriously now more than ever.
“It’s bad, you don’t want it. It’s real, it’s not fake news, it’s real," patient Brian Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he contracted the virus after a family trip to Colorado in June.
“The 3rd of 4th day, I had noticed that I had completely lost my sense of smell, which was pretty bizarre," Hernandez said.
Hernandez is just one of more than 4.5 million Americans who have been infected.
Nearly 16 million cases have been reported and more than 640,000 deaths worldwide.
“I think there was such a diversity of response in this country from different states that we really did not have a unified bringing everything down," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Friday during congressional testimony.
This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared and the WHO says COVID-19 is the most severe.
As cases and deaths continue to rise locally, Hernandez says his experience with COVID-19 is not one he'd wish on others.
“Still to this day I only have about 50 percent of my smell. The fatigue is 1000 percent better but there are still days where I’m tired, especially if I try to do anything strenuous," Hernandez said.
As the search continues for an effective vaccine, the WHO says there are more than 100 in development, Isome under clinical evaluation and others in the pre-clinical phases.
“There’s never a guarantee that you’re going to get a safe, effective vaccine, but from everything that we’ve seen now in the animal data as well as the early human data, we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021," Fauci said.