A 106-year-old man from Delhi, who was a four-year-old during the 1918 Spanish Flu, has survived COVID-19 and recovered faster than his son, who is in his 70s, at a coronavirus facility in the national capital, doctors said.
The patient was discharged from the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) recently after recovering, where his wife, son and another family member also recuperated after contracting the novel coronavirus infection, they said.
"Perhaps, he is the first reported case of COVID-19 in Delhi who also went through the dreaded Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 which like COVID-19 had also ravaged the world. And, he not only recovered from COVID-19, he recovered faster than his son, who is also old," a senior doctor.
Spanish Flu was a pandemic which hit the world 102 years ago, and affected nearly one-third of the global population at that time.
"The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919," according to the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) in the US.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, the pandemic of 1918-1919 called the Spanish Flu was particularly virulent, and killed an estimated 40 million people worldwide. The casualty count in India from the Spanish Flu is believed to be nearly one-fifth of the entire fatalities in the world, though the statistics for mortality in India are too wide-ranging and debatable.
Doctors at the RGSSH, a dedicated COVID-19 facility, were amazed to see the recovery of this centenarian patient from the novel coronavirus, even though he was highly vulnerable to the infection.
"We don't know whether he was affected by the Spanish Flu or not. We haven't seen much documentation on the situation back then as far as Delhi is concerned, but very few hospitals were there at that time. It is amazing this 106-year-old showed the will power to survive," a senior doctor, who monitored his situation, said.
"He lived through two pandemics," he doctor added.
The man's wife and another family member had also contracted COVID-19, and all four have successfully recovered and were discharged, the doctor said.
The RGSSH has treated 1,000 COVID-19 patients so far, and on Monday it is marking the milestone with a symbolic event where Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Heath Minister Satyendar Jain are slated to participate.