As Italy continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, some heart-warming news has emerged from the nation. A 101-year-old man from Rimini was discharged from the hospital last week after beating the respiratory disease COVID-19. Identified as “Mr. P” by authorities, the centenarian was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic that spread worldwide between 1918 and 1919.
Having tested positive for COVID-19, Mr. P was treated at Infermi Hospital in Rimini by hospital staff who felt a “desperate need” to ensure his recovery. Last Wednesday, his family brought him home, providing a “message of hope” in these dark times.
In a statement to local newspaper RiminiToday, Vice Mayor of Rimini, Gloria Lisi, said: “Given the progress of the virus, it could not even be called ‘a story like many’ if it were not for a detail that makes the life of the person returned to their loved ones truly extraordinary. Mr. P, from Rimini, was born in 1919, in the midst of another tragic world pandemic.”
The 1918 influenza pandemic (dubbed “the Spanish flu”) was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Around 500 million people were infected – around one-third of the world’s population at the time – 50 million of which died from the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“He saw everything, Mr. P,” Lisi continued. “War, hunger, pain, progress, crisis and resurrections. Once over the 100-year-old barrier, destiny has put before him this new challenge, invisible and terrible at the same time.”
“And he did it. Mr. P made it… It shows that even at 101 years old, the future has yet to be written.”
People of all ages can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, but older people and those with underlying medical problems (such as high blood pressure, heart problems, or diabetes) are more likely to develop serious symptoms. Last week, the National Institute of Health in Italy reported that 85.6 percent of those who have died were over 70.
Mr. P is not the only centenarian to have fought off the disease. In Modena, a 95-year-old in Emilia-Romagna became the first person to beat COVID-19 in the province. Across the globe in China, 103-year-old Zhang Guangfen beat coronavirus after receiving treatment at a hospital in Wuhan earlier this month.