Feisty 104-Year-Old Gets COVID-19, Lives

“Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has ‘recovered.'”

KARE11 – Vera Mueller of Winona celebrated her 104th birthday on March 23. Two days later, she tested positive for COVID-19.

“She’d just tell us that she was so sick and everything and didn’t feel good. That was about it,” said Bob Mueller, Vera’s son.

Bob said his mom had a fever, a hard time breathing and a cough. She was on oxygen and quarantined to a different room at Sauer Health Care in Winona.

“She always kept saying, ‘I want to get back to my own room.’ And I think that gave her the willpower, maybe, to keep fighting,” said Bob, in a phone interview.

Even before Vera tested positive, family and friends weren’t allowed inside the facility because of COVID-19 visitor restrictions.

They’ve been visiting her outside her window. On April 5, the nurses told Bob that Vera’s fever hadn’t spiked in the last couple of days. The next day, Vera had been moved back to her room.

“Just by their excellent taking care of her, she pulled through it,” Bob said.

Vera is one of the oldest—if not the oldest—person in the nation to have recovered from COVID-19.

An Oregon man—also 104—survived the virus; he’s 9 days younger than Vera. Read more. 

How They Survived COVID-19 

Apr. 8, 2020

Science Magazine – The next few months will be full of grim updates about the spread of the new coronavirus, but they will also be full of homecomings.

Patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, some having spent weeks breathing with the help of a mechanical ventilator, will set about resuming their lives.

Many will likely deal with lingering effects of the virus—and of the emergency treatments that allowed them to survive it.

“The issue we’re all going to be faced with the most in the coming months is how we’re going to help these people recover,” says Lauren Ferrante, a pulmonary and critical care physician at the Yale School of Medicine.

Hospital practices that keep patients as lucid and mobile as possible, even in the throes of their illness, could improve their long-term odds. But many intensive care unit doctors say the pandemic’s strain on hospitals and the infectious nature of the virus are making it hard to stick to some of those practices.

While COVID-19 is sending even young, previously healthy people to the intensive care unit (ICU), older adults are at greatest risk of both severe disease and long-term impairment, says Sharon Inouye, a geriatrician at Harvard Medical School’s Hebrew SeniorLife health care system:

“It’s taken us a long, long time to [develop] some best practices for geriatric care in the hospital and ICU, and I just see all of that being eroded during this crisis.”

COVID-19’s immediate assault on the body is extensive. It targets the lungs, but a lack of oxygen and widespread inflammation can also damage the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and other organs.

Although it’s too early to say what lasting disabilities COVID-19 survivors will face, clues come from studies of severe pneumonia—an infection that inflames the air sacs in the lungs, as COVID-19 does … Read more. 

More than 370,000 people have recovered from COVID-19. Here’s what we know about coronavirus survivors.

Apr 11. 2020

Business Insider – Most people who get the coronavirus recover. More than 372,000 such cases have been documented worldwide.

Tom Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, wrote in The Conversation:

“Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has ‘recovered.'”

Still, many uncertainties remain: It’s not yet clear how many people have recovered, how the illness will affect them in the long run, or how long they’ll be immune.

Here’s everything we know about the people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Although more than 372,000 people who had the coronavirus had recovered worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University database, the true number is probably far higher than that.

While Johns Hopkins tracks case counts and death tolls reported by each county and region across the globe, data on recoveries is less precise. Many counties, states, territories, and regions don’t report how many of their residents have recovered.

“Recovered cases outside China are country-level estimates based on local media reports and may be substantially lower than the true number,” Douglas Donovan, a spokesman for the university, told CNN.

Plus, due to limited testing availability in some countries, including the US, the most severe cases are prioritized for official diagnoses. People who have mild symptoms, or none at all, are less likely to get tested — if they even seek testing in the first place.

That means that many mild infections are not included in the count of total cases or recoveries.

That can skew experts’ understanding of the disease and how they predict its trajectory.

Dr. Bala Hota, a professor of infectious diseases and Associate Chief Medical Officer at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, told CNN: 

“Knowing the real number of infected people in the population would be very useful to have better models of when disease will peak and decline, and also when we can begin to return people to work … ” Read more. 

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