107-Year-Old NJ Woman Who Survived the Spanish Flu, Also Beats COVID-19

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Anna Del Priore, who is looking forward to turning 108 next month, tested positive for COVID-19 in May. Her granddaughter, Darlene Jasmine, expected the worst, the Asbury Park Press reported. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is it,’” Jasmine said in an interview. “This is the thing that’s going to take her down.” But to their surprise and delight, Del Priore was the victor. (Photo: Courtesy of Brighton Gardens of Middletown)

By: Ellen Cans

A 107-year-old New Jersey grandmother, who a century ago had survived the Spanish flu, has now beat the coronavirus.  Anna Del Priore, who is looking forward to turning 108 next month, tested positive for COVID-19 in May.   Her granddaughter, Darlene Jasmine, expected the worst, the Asbury Park Press reported.  “I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is it,’” Jasmine said in an interview. “This is the thing that’s going to take her down.”  But to their surprise and delight, Del Priore was the victor.

Del Priore had a fever and decrease of appetite, but she did not require a ventilator and was not taken to a hospital, her granddaughter said. She is now still active, and loves to dance at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living facility in Middletown.  “She always danced, always loved music,” Jasmine said. “As soon as she hears music, her foot starts tapping.”  She has also returned to her other daily undertakings, including swimming and sewing.  “I feel good,” Del Priore said. “I thank God I’m alive.”

Staff members at Del Priore’s living facility say she is a true inspiration. “It’s really been amazing to watch her journey”, said Laura Halle, Del Priore’ health care coordinator. “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.”

In 1918, Brooklyn-born Del Priore had contracted and survived the Spanish Flu.  The influenza pandemic, which had similarly attacked the respiratory system, took roughly 50 million lives across the globe.  As reported by the NY Post, Jasmine said she believes her grandmother’s encounter with the Spanish Flu may have given her the strength to also fight off COVID-19, which has killed 163,473 Americans as of early Tuesday, as per John Hopkins University data.

Jasmine,66, also attributes the “miracle,” of her grandmother’s survival to her lifetime of staying active and eating healthfully.  “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.”  Anna’s younger sister, 105-year-old Helen Guzzone, of Queens, also survived the Coronavirus as well as the Spanish Flu, Jasmine said.

There are only a small number of centenarians who have survived COVID-19, according to a gerontology website quoted by the Asbury Park Press. Two 108-year-olds have beat the virus in the US, as well as seven other Americans aged 107 or above.  The oldest person in the world reported to have survived the coronavirus is a 113-year-old woman in Spain, as per the site.

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