Angelina Friedman first tested positive for the novel coronavirus in March

By Gabrielle Chung
December 02, 2020 06:50 PM
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Angelina Friedman

A woman from New York who lived through the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 has now triumphed over the novel coronavirus — twice.

Angelina Friedman, whose remarkable recovery from COVID-19 made headlines earlier this year, has survived her second bout with the respiratory illness after celebrating her 102nd birthday, according to her daughter.

"Not only has she beaten COVID at 101, she's beaten it at 102," Joanne Merola told WPIX.

Merola said she received a call from the North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center, where her mother is currently living, in late October "to tell me she had tested positive again."

The news came just six months after Friedman was first diagnosed with coronavirus, a disease that has proven especially dangerous for adults over the age of 65.

"She had symptoms — fever, a dry cough," Merola recalled. "They thought she might also have the flu."

As staff and residents at the nursing home were getting sick, Merola said older residents were put in isolation.

She continually got updates on Friedman and received news that her "invincible mother tested negative" on Nov. 17.

Friedman, who Merola said has "an iron will to live," was moved out of isolation and back into her room after a second COVID-19 test that yielded negative results.

"She's not the oldest to survive COVID, but she may be the oldest to survive it twice," Merola said.

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The coronavirus crisis is the second pandemic Friedman has lived to see.

Over 102 years ago, Friedman's mother died giving birth to her while aboard a ship making its way from Italy to New York. Her death came amid the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed more than 50 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Friedman was diagnosed with coronavirus in March after she was admitted to a local hospital for a minor medical procedure, WPIX previously reported.

She reportedly spent a week at the hospital before being transferred back to her nursing home, where she remained in isolation until April 20, when she tested negative for the virus.

Angelina Friedman
| Credit: North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center

"She is not human," Merola told the outlet at the time. "She has super-human DNA."

According to Merola, her mother has also endured a close call with cancer in her lifetime. Friedman is the last surviving child out of 11 children in her family.

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

As of Wednesday, there have been more than 13,935,500 COVID-19 cases and 272,600 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses in the United States, according to a New York Times database.

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