In March of in 2020, 19-year-old Joseph Flavill was hit by a car while crossing the street in his native Britain. Flavill survived but fell into a coma — three weeks before the nation went into COVID-19 lockdown. Thankfully, Flavill is beginning to recover and has started responding, but he has no idea about the brand new world he’s waking up into.
“He won’t know anything about the pandemic as he’s been asleep for 10 months,” Flavill’s aunt Sally Flavill Smith told the Guardian. “His awareness is starting to improve now but we just don’t know what he knows.”
Flavill is coming to slowly in a hospital room and his family are communicating with him over video, due to COVID-19 restrictions. He can’t yet speak full sentences, but is now moving his limbs when asked and responding to questions through blinks and smiles. Ironically, Flavill actually contracted COVID-19 twice while he was in a coma, but doesn’t know what the disease is or how it has impacted the world during his recovery. “We try to keep it as simple as possible,” his aunt said. “We don’t really have the time to go into the pandemic hugely – it just doesn’t feel real does it? When he can actually have the face-to-face contact, that will be the opportunity to actually try to explain to him what has happened.”
Flavill’s recovery in recent days has been an enormous encouragement to his family, who have been in dire need of some good news. “We’ve still got a long journey ahead, but the steps he’s made in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” said Flavill Smith.