Coronavirus: Centenarians recovering from the virus
May. 30, 2020
Scientists have said coronavirus affects the elderly population more than any other age group. But amid the stories of suffering, there have also been rays of hope. BBC News hears from three centenarians who have survived Covid-19.
Among the many patients who left hospital in Derby after having had Covid-19 was Jane Collins, aged 104.
"She's survived two world wars, multiple recessions, and is still batting," said Ms Collins's great niece, Sarah Balmforth.
"She still likes the odd sip of champagne, which is what we think has preserved her for so long."
Ms Collins, who lives in the city, spent several weeks in hospital but has since returned to her care home to recover.
Image copyright University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Trust Image caption Jane Collins was applauded as she was discharged from hospital
Ms Collins said she remained tired and breathless at times, but said: "I'm doing very well after the virus.
"The [care home] staff are looking after me very well."
Staff at the Royal Derby believe she was the oldest of their patients to survive after contracting Covid-19.
"When she was admitted, you do expect the worst because you hear so much about this virus," added Mrs Balmforth.
"But day after day she kept improving and a lot of that was down to the superb care she got.
"She's made of some stern stuff."
'The lucky one'
Image caption Pat Aldridge's doctor said sending her home was "a real high point"
When 105-year-old Pat Aldridge, from Somerset, went into hospital with breathing difficulties, her family feared she may not survive.
But having been discharged from Taunton's Musgrove Park Hospital after five days, she said she felt "not too bad".
"In many ways, considering my age, I'm the lucky one," she said.
Her daughter Mary-Jane Yates said her symptoms came on "quite suddenly".
"There were times when we thought she wouldn't beat it at all," she said.
"After she went into hospital, the following morning she insisted on going to the toilet without help.
"That's what has got her through; she's an extremely determined lady."
Her doctor, Benedict Morris, said he initially thought Ms Aldridge's age was "a typo" but added: "Discharging her was a real high point."
Virus severity is 'a mystery'
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Some older people will only experience a mild illness, says Age UK
The oldest British patient thought to have overcome coronavirus is 106-year-old Connie Titchen from Birmingham.
Charity Age UK said while the virus was "worrying" for over-70s with health conditions, some would only experience a mild illness and make a full recovery.
"We do know that older people are more likely to have a more severe form of the virus which is why there is that all-important advice to be extra careful," said Ruthe Isden, head of health and care at the charity.
"But there are a lot of examples of people, even in the older age groups, who are not seriously ill enough to need to go into hospital."
The charity said it was "still learning" about why the virus affected some older people so severely, while others experienced only mild symptoms.
"Why some are more affected than others is still a mystery," said Ms Isden.
'When are the pubs opening?'
Image copyright Ian Whitehead Image caption Vera Beeley's grandson said given her age "everything was against her"
Vera Beeley, 102, has returned to her care home in Sheffield having been treated in hospital.
And her first question was "When are all the pubs opening again?"
"Not that she'll be going," laughed her grandson Ian Whitehead.
"With her age, [it seemed as if] everything was against her. We thought this was going to get her, but luckily it didn't.
"We couldn't believe it - she's back to her normal self and she's back on form."
The great-grandmother of seven said she felt "all right".
"I don't feel poorly, it's just my body that is getting old," she said.
Like some of the other centenarians, she was also given a line of honour upon her discharge from hospital.
"They were all in a line - doctors and nurses - all clapping me as I came out in the wheelchair," she said. "It made me feel very proud."
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