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101-Year-Old Italian Man Recovers From Coronavirus—After Surviving The Spanish Flu A Century Ago

101 man recovers from coronavirus

A 101-year-old Italian man referred to as Mr. P is back home with his family after surviving coronavirus infection.

Gloria Lisi, deputy mayor of Rimini, Italy told Italian media the centenarian had tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a hospital in northeastern Italy last week. He was released on Thursday.

The virus is said to present a greater threat to the elderly as fatality rates take a sharp upward trend for patients 70 years of age and up.

23% of Italians are over age 65, making Italy home to the world’s second-oldest population. Nearly 86% of deaths in the country represent those over 70, and with more than 8000 coronavirus fatalities on record, Italy has become the epicenter of the pandemic.

Lisi called Mr. P’s recovery “truly extraordinary” and said it inspired “hope for the future.”

“Mr. P made it,” she said. “[It shows] us that even at 101 years the future is not written.”

Born in 1919 at the time of the Spanish Flu outbreak, Mr. P has now survived his second pandemic.

From 1918 to 1920, the flu infected about 1/3 of the world’s population, and the virus killed an estimated 30 million to 50 million worldwide and at least 600,000 people in Italy.

“When the tragic news reports tell us daily of a virus that is dangerous above all to the elderly, there is hope for all of us in the story of a person of this age,” Lisi said.

Mr. P is among other elder corona survivors who have inspired hope.

103-year-old Zhang Guangfen of Wuhan, China recovered from the virus at its ground zero in March after only a week in the hospital, and a 97-year-old South Korean woman made a full recovery last Thursday.

In Italy, a 95-year-old woman, Emilia-Romagna, recently became Modena’s first patient to recover from the virus, and two seniors in Lombardy, Italy’s most affected area, have also made full recoveries.

One of the Lombardy survivors is an 83-year-old whose son claims that upon his return home, his dad, “… looks like a new person. It’s like he was reborn. Perhaps having won this battle has given him new energy.” And 86-year-old Gianna was discharged on Wednesday after fighting the infection for 7 weeks.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, of The World Health Organization, urges the less vulnerable to look out for seniors amid the outbreak.

“We need to work together to protect older people from the virus… They are valued and valuable members of our families and communities, but they’re at higher risk of the more serious complications of COVID-19.”

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca