As the coronavirus crisis continues to brew around the world, there’s hope for the elderly as 103-year-old Zhang Guangfen from Wuhan, China, has been sent home after a six-day treatment at the hospital . Guangfen was exposed to the virus in her home city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 pandemic is said to have originated. As reported by Chinese media outlet Chutian Metropolis Daily, she was diagnosed at Liyuan Hospital, Tongji Medical College, and due to her age, she was immediately hospitalized.
Many health authorities believe that the elderly and persons with underlying medical conditions do not fare well when infected with the coronavirus (and statistically speaking, they’re right), but from Guangfen’s experience, it might all boil down to having a strong immune system, according to the consulting physician Dr. Zeng Yulan . Apart from mild chronic bronchitis, Guangfen has no underlying conditions and was able to recover from the virus in less than 6 days, whereas people her age are expected to spend not less than 6 weeks in the hospital.
Other elderly people have recovered as well
Guangfen unseated a 101-year-old man who recovered a few days before her to become the oldest person in Wuhan to survive the virus.
On February 24, a 100-year-old man was admitted in Wuhan’s Hubei Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital . The man had underlying medical conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, and heart failure. Given the circumstances, they estimated his chances of survival to be very slim, but after 11 days in the hospital under the care of military doctors, he was discharged alongside 79 other people who recovered that week.
Professor Chris Witty, the Chief Medical Officer for England reassured the public that coronavirus is not a death sentence for people over 60 and for those with underlying medical conditions . Truly, the symptoms may be more severe as their immune systems are likely to be suppressed, but with the right amount of supportive care, they can pull through and make full recoveries.
“I think it’s easy to get a perception that if you are older and you get this virus then you’re a goner – absolutely not, the great majority of people will recover from this virus, even if they are in their 80s. We intend to do what we can to make sure that they are the group that is least affected as far as we can,” he said.
His statements were in response to a declaration that “80 percent of the fatalities have been people over the age of 60″. He had also said: “Even in the most vulnerable, oldest groups, in a very stressed health service – which Hubei was at the point when most of the data came out – the great majority of people who caught this virus – and not everybody will – survived it. The great majority, over 90 percent.”
Tensions are easing in China
China is currently on the mend when it comes to the coronavirus as the numbers have been declining steadily for the past couple of weeks. The latest updates from Worldometer show that 73,650 recoveries have been made from a total of 81,218 recorded cases . 3,281 deaths were recorded. There are currently 4,287 active cases, a drastic drop from the alarming figures seen earlier this year.
Lockdown protocols in Wuhan are starting to ease up and citizens will soon be allowed to feel the outdoors again . Despite the massive population in China, the government took on aggressive measures to successfully tame one of the worst pandemics in recent history, saving the lives of hundreds of millions of people actively exposed. From air-tight lockdowns to swiftly building emergency hospitals and disinfecting the streets, China was able to get a grip on the situation and avert more unfortunate losses.
Sadly, many other countries have been badly hit and none other seems to be making progress as aggressive as China’s. Italy alone is currently suffering the brunt of the virus, as of March 25th there are almost 75,000 recorded cases with 9,300 recoveries and 7,500 deaths . Hundreds of people are dying daily in the hospitals and homes of Italy. The government has admitted a loss of control over the situation and inadequate medical facilities and personnel to attend to all infected persons.
For now, there is no known or approved cure or course of treatment, but medical workers are advised to continue with supportive care for affected persons. The best preventive measures, for now, are social distancing, proper hygiene, and immune system fortification, where all three have to be used together if people are to stand a real chance of staying safe.
- 103-year-old woman becomes oldest person to beat disease. Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coronavirus-latest-103-year-old-woman-recovers-wuhan-hubei-china-a9393991.html. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Chris Baynes. Coronavirus: 100-year-old man ‘recovers from disease. Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/coronavirus-latest-100-year-old-man-recovers-wuhan-hubei-china-a9389306.html. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Chiara Giordano. Coronavirus: Elderly people ‘not a goner’ and great majority will recover from disease, UK medical chief says. Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-uk-news-latest-chris-whitty-over-60s-survival-rate-a9377761.html. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Coronavirus – China. Worldometer. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/china/. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Vivian Wang. China to Ease Coronavirus Lockdown on Hubei 2 Months After Imposing It. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/24/world/asia/china-coronavirus-lockdown-hubei.html. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Coronavirus – Italy. Worldometer. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Staff. Cuban doctors arrive in Italy to combat coronavirus pandemic. On Cuba News. https://oncubanews.com/en/cuba/cuban-doctors-arrive-in-italy-to-combat-coronavirus-pandemic/. Retrieved 24-03-2020
- Coronavirus confirmed as pandemic by World Health Organization. BBC. http://www.ctdsb.net/html/2020/0310/videos296877.html.
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