Europe's oldest person, a French nun, Sister Andre, recently made history as she became the oldest person to survive COVID-19 ahead of her 117th birthday.
The novel coronavirus was first reported to the WHO on December 31, 2019, and was later declared a global pandemic by the organization on March 11, 2020.
Since then, the virus has ravaged cities worldwide, with over 100 million people infected and more than 2 million deaths recorded. More importantly, studies have shown that COVID-19 is more deadly for older people.
A closeup picture of a COVID-19 test tube. | Photo: Pixabay
Still, a 116-year-old French nun recently made the headlines after defeating the virus. Earlier in the year, Lucile Randon, who took the name Sister Andre in 1944, tested positive for COVID-19 in her retirement home in the South of France.
Sister Andre, who is famous for being Europe's oldest person, was immediately isolated from other residents. However, the French nun began to allay fears when she did not display any symptoms.
Despite the high risk of death posed on older persons by COVID-19, the supercentenarian revealed she was not afraid of the virus because she was not scared of death.
For some, the absence of fear may have played a role in how she miraculously survived COVID-19 ahead of her 117th birthday celebration on Thursday.
Sister Andre, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, is now back to her best and is looking forward to celebrating her birthday, albeit with fewer guests than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 113-year-old woman in Spain survived the virus in May 2020.
Sister Andre was born on February 11, 1904. Apart from being Europe's oldest person, she is also one of the world's oldest persons as per the Gerontology Research Group's (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List.
According to the list, the oldest person in the world is Japan's Kane Tanaka, who celebrated her 118th birthday on January 2, 2020. Interestingly, twenty of the world's oldest people featured on the GRG list are women.
Meanwhile, Sister Andre becomes only the second supercentenarian to beat the novel coronavirus after a 113-year-old woman in Spain survived the virus in May 2020.
Maria Branyas, who was born on March 4, 1907, tested positive for COVID-19 in April. However, she was able to battle through the disease while isolating herself in her room in Olot city in Spain.
Unfortunately, not all the retirement home residents shared the same luck as sisters Andre and Banyas. According to local news reports, out of the 81 residents who tested positive for the virus in January, about 10 of them died.
While Sister Andre's birthday celebrations would be nothing close to the fanfare that heralded her 116th birthday, those closest to her would even be more grateful to still have her around after such a close call.
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