A British teenager who was in a car accident last year is starting to wake from a 10-month coma with no knowledge of the coronavirus pandemic, despite having been infected with COVID-19 twice, according to The Guardian.
Joseph Flavill, 19, suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit by a car while walking along a road in Staffordshire, England, on March 1. At the time, less than 40 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the U.K. The first nationwide lockdown began a few weeks later, on March 23. There have since been more than 3.8 million more cases of the virus in Britain.
“He won’t know anything about the pandemic as he’s been asleep for 10 months. His awareness is starting to improve now but we just don’t know what he knows,” his aunt, Sally Flavill Smith, told The Guardian.
“I just don’t know where to start with it. A year ago if someone had told me what was going to happen over the last year, I don’t think I would have believed it. I’ve got no idea how Joseph’s going to come to understand what we’ve all been through.”
Flavill was first treated at Leicester General Hospital. He was moved to Adderley Green care center in Staffordshire for rehabilitation about four months ago.
According to a Facebook page documenting the teen’s recovery, he is slowly starting to emerge from the coma into a “minimally conscious state.” He has been following commands by touching his ears, he can move his legs and he’s answering yes and no through blinking.
He has had COVID-19 twice while in a coma but has recovered both times.
Due to pandemic restrictions, his family could not visit him and have been communicating with him over FaceTime, Staffordshire Live reported. His mom, Sharon Priestley, was able to visit on his 19th birthday in December but had to remain at a distance.
“We also don’t know how much he understands as his accident was before the first lockdown and it’s almost like he has slept through the whole pandemic,” his aunt told the news site.
“It’s hard as we know he is more alert, but how do you explain the pandemic to someone who has been in a coma?”
Before the accident, Joseph was a senior in high school with a passion for sports and music, and had been set to receive a gold Duke of Edinburgh award, a youth achievement award, in May 2020, according to a GoFundMe set up by family members to support his recovery.
“We’ve still got a long journey ahead, but the steps he’s made in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” Flavill Smith told The Guardian.
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