There have been approximately 1.5 million deaths globally attributed to the coronavirus since the pandemic first began, and there are more cases being reported every single day, reportedly making it one of the most fatal pandemics in recent history. As staggering as those numbers are, the "Spanish" Flu of 1918, which was also a global pandemic, claimed the lines of at least 50 million people all over the world.
Angelina Friedman survived the pandemic of 1918 when she was just a baby, and her battles against potential health scares continued throughout her life. The New Yorker also survived sepsis, internal bleeding, and cancer. Most recently, she was diagnosed with COVID-19...twice. Her daughter, Joanna Merola was happy to announce that her "invincible mother [ultimately] tested negative."
Angelina's first COVID-19 diagnoses occurred back in March of 2020 when she was hospitalized for a "minor medical procedure" according to CNN. After returning back from said procedure, she discovered that she had tested positive for the coronavirus. Angelina spent a week in the hospital with an on and off fever then went home to self isolate. On April 20, 2020 she was tested again for COVID-19.
The result was negative.
The 102-year-old thought she was in the clear: she could add her defeat of COVID-19 to another long list of illnesses our species succumbs to, that is, until she received a phone call in late October of 2020 from the nursing home she lives in that tests its residents regularly.
She had tested positive for a second time and again, she was symptomatic. The fever returned, and this time, she experienced a dry cough.
Her daughter told the CNN affiliate, "They thought she might also have the flu," but the positive COVID test showed that Angelina had indeed contracted the virus.
More staff and residents in the nursing home were contracting the illness, so elderly occupants were put into isolation, including the NY native. On November 17, however, she tested for COVID-19 and the results came back negative.
Which made her a two-time coronavirus beater. Angelina was put back into her regular room after besting COVID a second time and although at this stage in her life her vision and hearing have deteriorated, she's still enjoying herself thoroughly, partaking in the home's scheduled activities and knitting up a storm. Her story of survival started before she ever came into this world, however.
Angelina first came to the US in 1918 on a ship from Italy in that she was actually born on the vessel.
Her pregnant mother and two sisters were coming to America to meet up with her father who had arrived before them. Sadly, Angelina's mother had passed away while giving birth to her, leaving her older sisters in charge of caring for a newborn on the boat until they arrived in America to see their father.
Angelina is the last of 11 siblings to still be alive and kicking. She's described as a constant "source of joy and entertainment for those around her" and was named the prom Queen in her nursing home.
Her daughter Joanne says, "She's not the oldest to survive Covid. But she may be the oldest to survive it twice."