Joseph Flavil, 19, woke up on March 1, 2020, after being in a coma for 11 months following a traumatic brain injury when he was struck by a car in the central English town of Burton-on-Trent on 1 March last year, three weeks before the UK national embargo was declared to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
At that time, his family was mostly unable to be close to him and hold his hand because of coronavirus restrictions, mainly attempting to connect with him through a video connection.
“Recently Joseph has started to show small signs of recovery, which we are thrilled about… We know now he can hear us, he responds to small commands,” said his aunt, Sally Flavill, to Reuters.
“When we say to him ‘Joseph, we can’t be with you, but you are safe, this is not going to be forever’, he understands, he hears you, he just can’t communicate,” she said, adding that he now indicated ‘yes’ with a blink and ‘no’ with two blinks.
Since Joseph’s accident, “In a pandemic that has turned life upside down worldwide, closing down schools, universities, shops and many other areas, Britain has recorded nearly four million COVID-19 cases, including more than 110,000 deaths.”
“I don’t know how Joseph will ever understand our stories of this lockdown,” said his aunt, adding that he was already very sick and faced “very, very long journey” back into normal life.
He is being treated at a care centre in Stoke-on-Trent in Central England until the crash, and his family has launched a campaign for the collection of funds.