A teenager in the United Kingdom has woken up from a months-long coma completely oblivious to the ongoing global pandemic despite being infected with the virus twice.
Joseph Flavill, 19, was struck by a vehicle last March and has been in a coma since, though his condition has been steadily improving, according to the Guardian. During his recovery, Flavill has caught COVID-19 and recovered from the illness two separate times, though he was not cognizant of the situation.
Flavill is able to touch his face and ears in response to commands, can smile, and can answer “yes or no” questions by blinking, according to the Guardian.
His aunt, Sally Flavill Smith, described the recent strides that Flavill has made, but has acknowledged that the ordeal is far from over.
“We’ve still got a long journey ahead, but the steps he’s made in the last three weeks have been absolutely incredible,” Smith said in an interview with The Guardian.
(2/3) touching his left and his right ear when asked to do so, he is able to move both of his legs, he is answering yes and no through blinking and the most amazing step is that he has shown us his incredible sense of humour. His smiles this week have brought us all to tears!
— josephsjourney (@josephsjourney5) January 31, 2021
Flavill’s family has not been able to visit him due to Britain’s COVID-19 restrictions, but has spoken to him over video calls. Flavill’s mother, Sharon, was able to visit once in December on his birthday. When they do speak with him, the pandemic is rarely brought up.
“But we try to keep it as simple as possible, 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 Smith said. (RELATED: Boris Johnson Orders UK Into Month-Long COVID-19 Lockdown)
Flavill’s family started a campaign called Joseph’s Journey, where they have raised over £30,000 to support him in his recovery.