World's Second Oldest Person, 116-Year-Old, Survives COVID-19

Sister André will celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday, February 11.
Fabienne Lang

A 116-year-old French nun, who is believed to be the oldest person in Europe, beat COVID-19 just in time for her 117th birthday on Thursday, February 11.

Sister André, born Lucile Randon, tested positive for COVID-19 in her retirement home in the city of Toulon in southern France on January 16, reported local news agency Var-Martin (in French), who was the first to spread the news.

She was quickly isolated from fellow residents, and remained asymptomatic throughout her illness, stating to Var-Martin that she didn't even know she had COVID-19. 

When asked by the French TV station BFM TV whether she had been worried, Sister André expressed that she had not been scared when told about her diagnosis, as she isn't afraid of dying. 

David Tavella, the spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home where Sister André lives, said she was doing well. He went on to say that the Sister, who is blind, will celebrate her birthday as usual, albeit, in a smaller group of residents so as to maintain COVID-19 regulations and minimize the risk of infections.

Sister André was born in 1904, and joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944. She is believed to be the world's second-oldest person, as per the Gerontology Research Group's (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List. First place is taken by 118-year-old Kane Tanaka from Japan. 

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There have been other instances of older people surviving COVID-19, including other centenarians, but none quite so elderly as Sister André. The virus has been especially hard on the older population, who have higher chances of catching it and being more vulnerable to its effects. So it's great news when someone as old as Sister André beat COVID-19 without many symptoms — or in her case, any —side effects.

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