Elderly Recoveries Spark Hope

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the world and death tallies see a rapid rise daily, it is hard to picture when this global crisis will finally come to an end. But, as the spike in fatalities awakens fear amongst us, news of recoveries around the globe kindle a sense of optimism that perhaps, this will soon be over. 

COVID-19’s most hardly-hit demographic is the elderly due to their higher susceptibility to the virus, which research attributes to several factors including pre-existing health conditions and declining immunity.

A paper published on The Lancet Infectious Diseases says COVID-19 kills an estimated 13.4 percent of patients 80 and older, compared to 1.25 percent of those in their 50s and 0.3 percent of those in their 40s. It also states that while 4 percent of patients in their 60s died, more than twice that, or 8.6 percent, of those in their 70s did. 

Reading about older people recovering from their agonizing bout is always welcome happy news.

And, when the news happens to be about resilient centenarians beating the virus, it sparks a glimmer of hope that if they could bounce back from COVID-19, then the rest of us could as well. 

On 26 March, Italian media reported an extraordinary tale of recovery – that of a 101-year-old Italian man who won his fight against COVID-19. Referred to as ‘Mr. P.,’ the centenarian was discharged from a hospital in Rimini, Italy a week after he was admitted. Mr. P. was also a survivor of the Spanish Flu, another deadly pandemic that swept across the world between 1918 and 1920 and killed an estimated 600,000 people in Italy.

In the Netherlands, a 101-year-old woman admitted to the IJsselland Hospital near Rotterdam also recovered from the virus. In a written statement quoted by the NLTimes, pulmonologist Sunil Ramlal lauded the woman, “She is a brave lady, it’s wonderful to see how she sticks to the social rules! She coughed neatly into her elbow and made me keep an appropriate distance from her. Let’s all stick to these principles, that’s so crucial!”

In Iran, a 90-year-old Iranian grandmother also beat the odds and toppled COVID-19 after 11 days of treatment at the Qom Forghani Hospital. Iranian health officials had earlier traced the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak to Qom, a city of a million people in north-central Iran.

In the Philippines, an inspiring recovery tale is that of an 83-year-old grandmother from Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The patient is reportedly the oldest COVID-19 patient to recover from the disease in the country.

These recoveries are a testament to the resiliency of the elderly in the face of a deadly pandemic despite them being the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.