NY woman, 101, has survived Spanish flu pandemic, cancer and coronavirus, family says

Angelina Sciales (Photos courtesy: Joanne Merola)

A 101-year-old New York woman who survived the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and beat cancer has now overcome COVID-19, according to a local report.

Angelina Friedman, née Sciales, was born in 1918 on a ship bringing Italian immigrants to the United States, according to WPIX.

Her mother died during childbirth and she was raised by her two older sisters until her father arrived in the country and they all moved to Brooklyn, according to Joanne Merola, Friedman’s daughter.

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“My mother is a survivor,” Merola told WPIX. “She survived miscarriages, internal bleeding and cancer… She and my dad had cancer at the same time. She survived. He didn’t.”

More than 100 years after making it through her first major pandemic, Friedman was diagnosed with COVID-19.

She lives in a nursing home in Westchester County, relatively close to New York City -- the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. After visiting a hospital in late March for an unrelated procedure, health care providers discovered she had contracted COVID-19.

Older adults and people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe cases of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So are nursing home residents, in particular.

Doctors kept Friedman at the hospital for a week before she returned to her nursing home, where she isolated in her room. After weeks of intermittent fevers, she tested negative for the virus last week, according to the report.

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“She is not human,” Merola said, according to WPIX. “She has superhuman DNA.”

To reduce the risk of contracting the illness, the CDC recommends staying home as often as possible, frequently washing your hands and social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.

Symptoms can be mild or very severe. They primarily include cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. They can also carry a combination of two or more of the following: fever, chills, headache, sore throat, chills, muscle pain and the loss of taste or smell.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 1 million on Tuesday, with more than 57,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York state has the most cases with more than 295,000 and over 22,000 deaths.

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