A student who is believed to have been the first British man to catch COVID-19 teaching English in China died after a “tragic accident” at the university, his mother confirmed.
Connor Reed, 26, was teaching in Wuhan – the city in China where COVID-19 was first identified – and believed to have contracted the virus in late November, without knowing what it was at the time. After his recovery, he returned to the United Kingdom to earn a degree in Chinese from the University of Bangor in Wales.
He was found dead that weekend in his university dormitory, as his mother Hayley Reed confirmed on Facebook. She said: “It fills me with great sadness to announce that our beautiful son Connor Reed died in a tragic accident at Bangor University this weekend. He will be missed so much by his brothers, family and friends. He had such a wonderful smile, enthusiasm and love for life. We are blessed that we had you in our lives, even if only for a very short time. Rest in peace our darling (sic)”.
She told The Sun that her son “suffered much hardship in China” and “experienced more confinement than anyone else we know”, including 16 weeks in China, two weeks in Australia and three weeks in the UK: “It breaks both our hearts that his adventures at Bangor University, where he was studying for a degree in Chinese, ended in an accident that looks like a tragic accident. We will never know where his ambition and drive would have taken him.
The North Wales police confirmed that they were called to a room in the Bangor University dormitory shortly after 10pm on 25 October. Reed was declared dead at the scene of the accident, despite the best efforts of the paramedics. His death is not being treated as suspicious, police said.
A Bangor University spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the student’s family and friends at this very sad time. The welfare of the students is a priority at the university and we offer support to others in the dormitories and at the university who knew the student”.
Earlier this year, Reed made headlines when he claimed that he had healed himself from COVID by drinking “hot whiskey and honey”. He fell ill in Wuhan, while it was the epicenter of the virus after he moved there in the summer of 2019. He said COVID-19 had caused the city to become “unrecognizable” since his arrival.
“It’s pretty scary because normally the streets are busy, there are people dancing and singing, it’s usually a very happy place,” he told the British This Morning program in March. “But right now it’s very dead and you can feel this atmosphere.”
Reed described his own infection, he said: “It progresses in three stages: first you have a cold, then it progresses to influenza and finally to pneumonia. It wasn’t so bad during the cold stage, it was definitely during the flu and pneumonia, so I thought, ‘It’s getting pretty serious’. This is the point where I went to the hospital”. A medical examiner started an investigation into his death.
The first known case of coronavirus was traced back to November 17. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, government data show that a 55-year-old man from Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, was the person with the first known case of COVID-19. According to the CDC, “epidemiologists have determined that the virus may have originated from an animal sold in a market. When and where exactly this happened is not known….