113-Year-Old Woman In Spain Recovers From Coronavirus

Messages that children and adults send to the COVID-19 IFEMA Hospital to encourage the sick and health personnel are seen at the COVID-19 IFEMA Hospital
Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

Maria Branyas, who is believed to be the oldest woman in Spain at 113 years old, has recovered from the novel coronavirus, BBC News reported on Tuesday. Branyas has seen quite a lot in her 113 years. She survived the 1918 flu pandemic, she witnessed two world wars, and she lived through the Spanish civil war.

Branyas was first diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, shortly after the country went into lockdown, according to BBC News. Luckily, she didn’t have a very serious case and only experienced mild symptoms. Branyas went into isolation after being diagnosed and remained in isolation for nearly two months. She was finally able to break isolation yesterday and visit with her family.

On Tuesday, her daughter tweeted, “Now that she is well, she is wonderful, she wants to speak, to explain, to make her reflections, it is her again.”

According to BBC News, Branyas has three children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. One of her children is 86 and one of her grandchildren is 60, which gives a staggering picture of her incredible longevity. In an interview with Spanish publication La Vanguardia last year, Branyas told the interviewer that her two daughters and many of her grandchildren visit her frequently. She joked that they’re very busy people but that they come when they have the time.

Branyas is not a native of Spain, but she moved there with her father — a journalist — when she was young. Spain has been her home ever since, according to BBC News. She was born in Mexico in 1907. Two years later, her family moved to San Francisco, and five years after that, they moved to the Catalan province of Girona.

The supercentenarian — a person who lives past the age of 110 — said there’s no secret to her longevity. In the interview with La Vanguardia last year, Branyas said simply, “I have done nothing but live.” She told the interviewer that she was amused by all the interest in her age from the Spanish media. Despite her age, Branyas was in excellent physical health before her battle with coronavirus and she hasn’t shown any signs of mental decline.

She’s been living in an elder care facility in Olot for about two decades and she’s beloved by the staff. She’s been nicknamed “Abuela,” which is Spanish for Grandmother. One staff member told La Vanguardia that Branyas always has time to impart the knowledge she’s learned in her more than a century of life and that she truly cares about others.