104-year-old Bill Lapschies, a World War II veteran, could be the world’s oldest coronavirus survivor. He is among at least 15 residents of the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home who tested positive for the illness. Two of which have passed away, according to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Having recently celebrated his 104th birthday, Lapschies “has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from COVID-19,” according to a spokesman for the VA.
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“Our most senior veteran resident survived COVID-19 and today celebrates his 104th birthday,” wrote the home on Facebook.
Following restrictions about the coronavirus, his family surprised him outside the veterans’ home for a social distancing celebration. When asked how it feels to be 104, Lapschies said: “Pretty good. I made it. Good for a few more.”
104-year-old WW2 veteran becomes the oldest known survivor of the #coronavirus in time for birthday celebration
Bill Lapschies, who was born in 1916 in Salem, Oregon, also survived the 1918 Spanish flu.
''I made it,'' he said. pic.twitter.com/Rea0z2uYiK
— EHA News (@eha_news) April 4, 2020
According to Carolee Brown, that was not exactly how she planned to celebrate her father’s birthday. “We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Governor Brown has asked us to do,” she said. “But we’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this and we just had to do something for him.”
Brown said her father was “very very sick” after he tested positive. “It seemed like he just made this wonderful recovery,” Brown said. “We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window and we were like, ‘He’s gonna make it!’”
His son-in-law, Jim Brown, said “Bill’s pretty resilient” – adding that he lived through the Spanish Flu, Great Depression, and some recessions.
According to Fox News, while Lapschies might be the oldest, he’s not the first WWII veteran to fight through the virus. Bill Kelly, 95, recently recovered as well.