107-year-old N.J. woman survives Spanish Flu and COVID-19

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MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (WCBS) – A 107-year-old New Jersey grandmother is now the survivor of two pandemics, after recently recovering from the coronavirus.

She also beat the Spanish Flu more than a century ago, CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported Thursday.

Even through her mask, you can see the amazement on Darlene Jasmine’s face as she watches her grandmother dance the tango at 107 years old.

“Oh, I can’t even put it into words,” Jasmine said.

Especially because in May she got a call from the staff at Brighton Gardens of Middletown saying her grandmother had tested positive for coronavirus.

“I thought this just might be the thing that’s gonna take her down this time,” Jasmine said.

The staff said Anna Del Priore was a fighter. She came down with a fever and cough, but eventually recovered from the virus.

“Everyone was just amazed that she was a dual survivor of two pandemics,” Brighton Gardens’ Laura Halle said.

Del Prior, a Brooklyn native, not only beat COVID-19, she also survived the Spanish Flu in 1918, when she was 6 years old.

When asked how she did it, Del Priore said, “God helped me be strong. And I got good friends. I’m healthy.”

She also credits at least some of her immunity and longevity to a lifelong Mediterranean diet.

“I eat hot peppers,” she said with a laugh.

While Del Priore was sick she was able to FaceTime with her granddaughter, so Jasmine always had peace of mind she was doing OK. Now they’re able to do socially distant visits outside the facility. The one thing they haven’t been able to do yet is give each other a hug.

“Ah, it’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be great,” Jasmine said.

Maybe it’ll happen on Del Priore’s 108th birthday in September.

Until then, she’ll just keep blowing kisses.

“We’re honored and blessed to be a part of her journey,” Halle said.

It’s a journey that will continue to be filled with counting blessings and lots of dancing.

That fighting spirit seems to run in Del Priore’s blood. Her 105-year-old sister also survived the 1918 flu and COVID-19.

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