A father who was told he was almost certain to die from coronavirus has made a miracle recovery, having spent 50 days on a ventilator.
Bodybuilder Steve Banks, 44, spent a month and a half in intensive care after being struck down by the virus.
He was rushed to hospital on 25 March by paramedics when his breathing deteriorated, and within hours was put into an induced coma – and given just a 1% chance of survival.
The next thing Banks remembers was waking up over seven weeks later in a different hospital with nurses and doctors standing around his bed clapping because he had finally opened his eyes.
Banks says he feels lucky to be alive after suffering heart, kidney and respiratory failure as well as sepsis as his body began to shut down while battling the disease.
The dad of two was given a tracheotomy and put on a life-support machine in a last-ditch attempt to get oxygen into his body at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.
He said his condition got so bad his family wrote letters to say goodbye and were told to prepare for his funeral as they did not think he was going to make it.
But Banks, who had no underlying health conditions, started to turn a corner and is now recovering at home in East Tilbury, Essex.
Banks now cannot walk unaided and has lost so much muscle mass he described himself as being "half the man I was before".
When he woke up, Banks said he did not recognise himself, as he had lost nearly four stone in weight.
He said: "I don't remember much after going into hospital as everything just crashed.
"When I woke up I was in a different hospital, I couldn't speak, and there were lots of nurses around me clapping. It was quite a surreal moment.
"One minute I was struggling to breath, the next I had an oxygen mask.
"I went into hospital before the lockdown, only 55 people had died.
"When I came out it was over 31,000 – the country had changed beyond all recognition, it was such a shock. It's been an interesting ride.”
Banks started to notice he was feeling ill on 17 March 17 when he had a high temperature and cough.
He said his wife Lisa and their two children were left feeling helpless as they were unable to visit Banks in hospital.
Lisa said: "I was so scared, I felt destroyed, I was numb with the anxiety and the stress of it all, I was just devastated. I had to have a conversation with our children about how their dad might die.”
The construction site manager believes he caught the virus in London, where he works on busy building sites.
He was moved to Brentwood Community Hospital for rehabilitation and psychotherapy after he left intensive care.