World’s Second-Oldest Person Survives COVID-19 Before Her 117th Birthday

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French nun Sister André, who is believed to be the world’s second-oldest person, survived COVID-19. She recovered before her 117th birthday, allowing her to celebrate the occasion on Thursday (11/02/21).

The Gerontology Research Group lists Lucile Randon (Sister André’s birth name) as the second-oldest living person in the world. She caught the virus in the southern French city of Toulon.

Sister André tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-January. Sister André was sad that she couldn’t see her friends and that her daily routine changed, but she wasn’t afraid of death or the virus.  

“She showed no fear of the disease,” David Tavella, the communications manager of her care home, said to the newspaper Var-Matin. “On the other hand, she was very concerned about the other residents.”

Her worry for the other residents was well-founded. According to Var-Matin, 81 of the 88 residents of the care home tested positive for the virus. About ten residents unfortunately died. But, Sister André was lucky, as her health improved.

The doctors reported Sister André no longer had the virus. She was allowed to attend Mass upon hearing this news. She also was able to celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday. Tavella assured news outlets that the celebration would be a small gathering to prevent the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Sister André’s strength is admirable. She has survived many other world events besides the recent pandemic, including two world wars and the 1918 flu pandemic.