107-year-old New Jersey woman who beat Spanish flu survives COVID-19
A 107-year-old New Jersey grandmother who survived the Spanish flu a century ago is now a two-time pandemic survivor after beating COVID-19.
Brooklyn native Anna Del Priore, who turns 108 next month, was diagnosed with the coronavirus in May and her granddaughter, Darlene Jasmine, had assumed the worst, the Asbury Park Press reports.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is it,’” Jasmine told the newspaper. “This is the thing that’s going to take her down.”
But Del Priore, who contracted the Spanish Flu during the influenza pandemic in 1918 that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, didn’t succumb to the virus. Instead, she’s still mobile, dancing whenever possible at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living facility in Middletown.
“She always danced, always loved music,” Jasmine, 66, said. “As soon as she hears music, her foot starts tapping.”
Del Priore had a fever and lost her appetite following her COVID-19 diagnosis, but she didn’t need to be placed on a ventilator or be taken to a hospital, her granddaughter said.
She has since resumed her daily activities of swimming, sewing and a few dance steps whenever she can, the spry centenarian told the newspaper.
“I feel good,” Del Priore said. “I thank God I’m alive.”
Jasmine thinks her grandmother’s bout with the Spanish Flu, which also attacked her respiratory system, may have something to do with her ability to stave off the coronavirus — which has killed 163,473 Americans as of early Tuesday, according to John Hopkins University data.
Jasmine said her grandmother’s survival is a “miracle,” but noted her lifetime of staying in shape and eating well.
“She’s constantly moving,” Jasmine said. “We always walked in Brooklyn — to the grocery store, to the bakery. Every night she would make a homemade meal from scratch. All Mediterranean food — olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts. It’s like the old peasant food that now they charge you so much for.”
Del Priore is now among a select few of centenarians who have survived COVID-19, according to a gerontology site cited by the Asbury Park Press. Two 108-year-old Americans have bested the virus, while seven US citizens ages 107 or older have done so, the newspaper reports.
The oldest person worldwide confirmed to have beaten the coronavirus is a 113-year-old woman in Spain, according to the site.
Anna younger’s sister, 105-year-old Helen Guzzone, of Queens, also survived both the Spanish Flu and COVID-19, Jasmine said.
Staff at Del Priore’s living facility, meanwhile, said she’s an inspiration to behold.
“People don’t believe me,” said Del Priore’ health care coordinator, Laura Halle, said. “It’s really been amazing to watch her journey … For the rest of my life, I’ll be able to say I met and loved someone who’s made it this far and stayed healthy.”
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