Guy Wakes Up From 10-Month Coma With No Idea of the Pandemic

His family is only allowed to talk to him virtually.
IMAGE Joseph's Journey

Nineteen-year-old Joseph Flavill from England slipped into a coma on May 1, 2020 after he figured in a road accident. It was just before the United Kingdom imposed its first lockdown.

At that time, the world still referred to the pandemic as nCoV, not COVID-19. There were only 23 cases of nCoV recorded in England then. 

Flavill would spend the next 10 months in a coma in a hospital, oblivious to the chaos that would ensue around the world as the pandemic crippled countries and killed millions of people. As of this writing, 105 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide, with 2.3 million deaths

While in coma recovering from a traumatic brain injury, Flavill was infected with the virus twice

“Joseph wouldn’t have any understanding of what’s happened to the world in the past year,” his aunt Sally Flavill Smith told BBC News

“When Joseph first had the accident, the consultant’s advise was that he wasn’t sure Joseph was going to make it past 48 hours,” said Smith. But clearly, that wasn’t the case. 

Now, the challenge for the family is how they could slowly break the news to Flavill about the state of the world today, but they do it all through chat. 

“We go back a year, gosh, we’ve only just heard of Covid at the time. When we chat to Joseph, we do try to explain, because obviously, we’re not with him, he’s not allowed any visitors at all. So it must be really strange to see his mom and his loved ones on a screen.”


Another aunt, Kate Yabo, tells CNN how difficult it is for the family to ease Flavill into the situation. "I think it's going to be a shock. We're all still processing it, I'm not sure you can ever actually describe how this pandemic feels," says Yabo. 

Flavill’s family are all trying to speak to him virtually, and enlisted the help of their friends and relatives through the fundraising page Joseph's Journey.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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