116-Year-Old Nun, World's Second-Oldest Person, Survives COVID: ‘I Wasn't Scared'
Sister André will celebrate her 117th birthday on Thursday
A French nun believed to be the second-oldest known living person in the world has beaten COVID-19, just days before she's set to celebrate her 117th birthday, according to reports.
Sister André tested positive for the virus in mid-January, but showed no symptoms, French media reported, according to the Associated Press.
"I didn't even realize I had it," she reportedly told French newspaper Var-Martin.
Though she's since recovered, the centenarian, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, told France's BFM Television that she was not frightened by her bout with the deadly virus.
"No, I wasn't scared because I wasn't scared to die," she said, according to Reuters. "I'm happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother."
Sister André's standing as the second-oldest known living person in the world comes from The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people believed to be 110 years older. The only person older than her on the list is Kane Tanaka of Japan, who turned 118 on Jan. 2, Reuters reported.
André was born Lucile Randon on Feb. 11, 1904, and reportedly joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944.
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David Tavella, communications manager for her care home in the southern French city of Toulon, said that upon testing positive, she was less concerned with her health, and more concerned about her daily routines.
"She didn't ask me about her health, but about her habits. For example, she wanted to know if meal or bedtime schedules would change," he told Var-Martin. "She showed no fear of the disease. On the other hand, she was very concerned about the other residents."
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Her fears were justified – the local paper reported that 81 of the home's 88 residents tested positive for the virus last month, and around 10 of them died.
Tavella said Sister André is "very calm" and "looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday."