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101-year-old Woman Born During the 1918 Flu Pandemic Beats Coronavirus

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

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The current coronavirus pandemic continues to rip through the globe and has taken the lives of 250,000 people worldwide and nearly 70,000 in the U.S. alone. In the face of so much tragedy, however, it’s nice to note and remember the good and often even miraculous things that happen. One such thing is the recent case of 101-year-old Angelina Friedman who survived her encounter with Covid-19.

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Angelina was born during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic onboard an immigrant ship that was crossing the Atlantic between Italy and New York. If this doesn’t make her story fascinating enough, throughout her 101 years, Angelina has also survived cancer, sepsis, internal bleeding, and miscarriages

Currently, the tough New Yorker resides in the North Westchester Restorative Therapy & Nursing Center in Mohegan Lake, NY. Amy Elba. An administrator at the nursing home shared that Angelina has recovered from Covid-19 completely and is back to her old smiling self as if nothing had happened.

“It also just goes to show how much the world needs hope that you can beat this at 101,” Elba said.

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It’s unclear how Angelina contracted the disease.

“She had gone out to the hospital for a procedure and when she returned she had tested positive,” Elba said. The assumption is that Angelina caught the disease outside the nursing home.

Joanne Merola, Friendman’s daughter, also commented on her mother’s endurance, saying that her mother is a survivor.

“She and my dad had cancer at the same time. She survived. He didn’t,” Joanne said. In an interview with WPIX, Joanne shared that her mother had tested positive for Covid-19 in several consecutive tests while battling the disease. That is until eventually, Joanne received a late-night phone call that her mother is finally through and will be OK.

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Angelina has had a lot of brushes with death throughout her life, which makes her recent recovery even more noteworthy. Her own mother died during her birth on the immigrant ship during the 1918 pandemic. The newborn Angelina was taken care of by her two older sisters until they eventually arrived in New York and were reunited with their father.

Angelina had 8 other siblings too, as she was one of 11 children. She is the last survivor, however, and will continue to be so. She has outlasted her husband, Joanne’s father, who died of cancer around the same time Angelina was battling with her tumor as well.

“She is not human,” Joanne said. “She has superhuman DNA.”

Still, the battle wasn’t easy for Angelina. Merola shared that her mother was isolated in her room with an on and off fever for multiple weeks until she finally tested negative on April 20. When the phone call finally came, Joanne was understandably relieved. 

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The mother and daughter haven’t seen each other in person since February because of the pandemic and because of Joanne’s back injury. They also couldn’t speak over the phone because Angelina is almost deaf, but they keep in touch as best they can with the help of the nursing home’s workers.

The North Westercher’s admins told Joanne that her mother not only tested negative but was in great spirit too – she had started eating again and she was looking for yarn to crochet with.

“She is a mover and a shaker,” Elba said. “She’s a big knitter and she makes all kinds of things and gives them away to visitors.”

Friedman is almost 102 and it looks like she’ll be well on her next birthday. Last year, on her 101st birthday, Angelina got a huge birthday party from the Westercher’s crew and was crowned as the party’s prom queen too. Everyone’s hoping that she’ll get to be prom queen again this year even if most schools won’t get to celebrate their graduates this year. 

“She’s super active. You couldn’t believe it for her age,” Elba said. “Still doing her leisure activities probably that she’s done forever.”