Talk about a survivor: this is unbelievable! The story (h/t Malgorzata) comes from the Jewish Journal (first headline) and Forbes (second) and you can see it by clicking on the screenshots. But I’ll reproduce the whole short report from JJ below.
A 101-year-old man, identified as ‘Mr. P’ has been released from isolation after recovering from COVID-19 in the Italian city of Rimini. Mr. P., a WWII and Spanish Flu survivor was admitted last week to a hospital in northeast Italy after he was tested positive for the Coronavirus.
According to Gloria Lisi, Vice-Mayor of Rimini, as the patient began to recover it became “the story everyone talked about” in the hospital.
“Everyone saw hope for the future of all of us in the recovery of a person more than 100 years old,” Lisi said in a televised interview.
“Every day we see the sad stories from these weeks that mechanically tell about a virus that rages and is especially aggressive on the elderly. But he survived. Mr. P. survived.”
According to an article in Forbes, this is the second pandemic the man has survived. Mr. P was born in 1919, in the middle of the Spanish flu, estimated by the Centers for Disease Control to have infected 500 million people, about a third of the world’s population.
It doesn’t really say in what sense he was a Holocaust survivor, whether he was Jewish, whether he was in the camps, and so on. It could be that he simply lived through the time of the Holocaust, but you could say that about anyone who lived in Europe during those years. And did he really get the Spanish flu, or was simply alive but ininfected while it raged? Still, he did beat the COVID-19 at 101!
And the Forbes story is below, which doesn’t say anything about the Holocaust survival.
Crucial quote: “Mr. P made it. The family brought him home yesterday evening,” Lisi said. “[It teaches] us that even at 101 years, the future is not written.” His “truly extraordinary” recovery gave “hope for the future,” she added.
Key background: Mr. P’s survival is remarkable, especially considering the high fatality rates for older Italians who become infected with the virus. According to a report from Italy’s National Institute of Health, nearly 86% of deaths in the country were patients older than 70 years old. And while China, the U.S., and Italy all had confirmed coronavirus numbers hovering around 80,000 Thursday, Italy saw substantially more deaths, 8,165 compared to 1,000 in the U.S. and 3,287 in China. The age distribution of Italy’s population may be a factor— the country has the second-oldest population globally, with 23% of Italians clocking in at over age 65.
Tangent: Mr. P has joined the ranks of other centenarians to survive coronavirus, including 103-year-old Zhang Guangfen, a woman living in Wuhan, China, where the virus is believed to have originated. Guangfen was admitted to hospital in early March and was discharged a week later. On Thursday, South Korea saw its oldest survivor leave hospital after a 97-year-old female coronavirus patient made a full recovery. She is reported to be from Cheongdo, a city not far from Daegu, which has seen the worst of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak.
To paraphrase the old doo-wop song, “Who was that man? I’d like to shake his hand.” On second thought, maybe we’d just bump elbows.