A woman born in San Francisco who is now living in Spain where she is the country’s oldest citizen has also become the oldest survivor of coronavirus after beating the disease at the age of 113.
Mother-of-three Maria Branyas who is the daughter of a journalist and wife of a doctor survived COVID-19 whilst in the Santa Maria del Tura care home where she lives in the city of Olot, in the eastern Spanish province of Girona in the Catalonia region.
Maria is considered the oldest person in Spain by the Gerontology Research Group, a global group of researchers in various fields which verifies and tracks supercentenarians.
She was diagnosed with coronavirus in April and was isolated in her room in the care home as she fought the disease before finally testing negative.
She reportedly said the pandemic is very sad but is not aware where it comes from or how it arrived in Spain. Maria says her health is fine, adding that she suffers small pains like everybody else and thanked the care home staff for their support.
Her daughter Rosa Moret told reporters that her mother is a strong and positive person who suffered a urine infection whilst infected with COVID-19 but the virus itself was symptomless.
The daughter said her mother was bored of being isolated in her room, receiving her last visit on her birthday on 4th March before visits were prohibited.
Her daughter, who opened a Twitter account for her, said that “now she is fine, she is willing to talk, to explain, to think, she is herself again”.
Maria was born on 4th March 1907 in San Francisco, in the United States and her father was a journalist from Pamplona, in the northern Spanish region of Navarra who had gone to America for work after spending some time in Mexico.
After some time in New Orleans, she returned to Spain in 1915 aboard a boat as her father was suffering from tuberculosis, but he passed away on-board and his body was thrown into the sea.
She then lived in the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Banyoles, Girona, Calonge i Sant Antoni and Palol de Revardit (all of them in the Catalonia region), and has been a resident in the care home for two decades.
Maria says “having good health” is the key for a long life, adding that she never smoked but only ever went for walks with friends as a form of sport.
She married doctor Joan Moret in 1931 and had three children, 11 grandchildren (one of whom is 70 years old) and 13 great-grandchildren.
Her family are looking forward to being allowed to visit her again.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Spain has registered 227,436 cases of COVID-19 and 26,744 deaths.