101-Year-Old Italian Man Born During Spanish Flu Pandemic Survives Coronavirus, Official Says
Gloria Lisin, vice mayor of Rimini, said the man — only identified as Mr. P — made "history" by surviving the virus
A 101-year-old Italian man has reportedly made history after he contracted — and survived — COVID-19.
The man, only identified as Mr. P, was recently discharged from a hospital in Rimini following a battle with the contagious illness, the city’s Vice Mayor Gloria Lisi told Italian news agency ANSA.
“In a few days it became ‘history’ for doctors, nurses, [and] all healthcare personnel as well,” Lisi said, according to ANSA. “He made it. Mr. P. made it. The family brought him back home last night.”
Lisi said Mr. P was initially hospitalized last week after testing positive for coronavirus, which has severely impacted Italy with at least 101,739 reported cases and at least 11,591 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to The New York Times.
Despite those staggering numbers and his age, Mr. P came out on top — but as it turns out, this isn’t the first pandemic that he has survived in his lifetime.
Born in 1919 during the Spanish Flu pandemic, the Italian man also survived that severe illness outbreak, according to Lisi.
Between 1918 and 1919, the Spanish Flu killed at least 50 million people worldwide, with at least 675,000 of those deaths reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“101 years, the short century lived almost entirely and then this first glimpse of the new Millennium,” Lisi told ANSA. “He saw everything… war, hunger, pain, progress, crisis and resurrections.”
“Once over the centenary barrier, fate has put before him this new challenge, invisible and terrible at the same time,” Rimini’s vice mayor added.
A full lockdown was implemented on March 9, stopping the country’s citizens from any travel through the country or from going outside. With overwhelmed hospitals and ventilators in short supply, some Italian doctors were also forced to decide which patients are more likely to survive, and should get the needed breathing help.
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By March 24, Italian health officials reported that they were beginning to see the number of new cases and deaths decline following their lockdown.
Data collected by the World Health Organization showed that the number of new cases between March 22 and 23 declined by 997 — from 6,557 to 5,560.
“We can say that today is the first positive day,” Giulio Gallera, the leading health official in Lombardy, said last Monday, according to the Times. “It’s not the moment to sing victory, but we finally see light at the end of the tunnel.”
On Thursday, the United States officially displaced Italy as the hardest-hit country. As of Monday afternoon, there have been at least 144,732 reported cases in the U.S. and at least 2,527 reported deaths, according to the Times.
Still, it appears Italy is not in the clear just yet. Within a week of those initial reports from Italian health officials, the number of new coronavirus cases has risen from 5,560 to 5,974, the WHO reported.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.