This will be, without a doubt, the best birthday for William “Bill” Lapschies. The World War II veteran, survivor of the Spanish Flu epidemic and the Great Depression, and an Oregon resident reaches 104 years of age with his greatest triumph: contracting the coronavirus and emerging victorious from the disease.
That's right, the venerable old man who resides in the town of Lebanon at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans Residence reached this incredible age this Wednesday and although he and 15 of the residents of the home have tested positive for COVID-19 Bill can hold and blow out the candles on his 104th cake.
According to The Oregonian Lapschies newspaper, he was diagnosed with the respiratory disease -which has claimed more than 50,200 deaths worldwide- on March 5 and was one of the first residents of said home to test positive for the virus. Since then the old man has remained isolated in his room to keep the quarantine.
Despite the fact that his condition has been largely stable, his family was very scared when a couple of days after the diagnosis, Lapschies began to experience high fever and present labored breathing, symptoms, which as Dr. L has told People en Español Nelson Sanchez-Pinto, are characteristic of coronavirus complications.
However, almost miraculously, her condition changed and the adorable Bill began to show improvement. "He has met the guidelines set by the [Center for Infectious Diseases] CDC and the Oregon Health Authority and is considered as recovered from COVID-19," a spokesman told local television station KOIN-16.
"I already did it," Lapschies exclaimed when interviewed. "I'm ready for the other one." The war veteran was stationed on the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific during World War II.
According to sources, Bill is one of the four oldest people in the world to survive the COVID-19 virus. A woman in China and one in Iran, both 103 years old, have come out ahead, as well as a 101 year old gentleman in Spain.
"We are all in shock when we saw him sitting there in his wheelchair and waving out the window and we were like 'He's going to make it!'" Exclaimed Carolee Brown, one of her daughters. "I wish they had seen his smile. The mask covers it but it is absolutely contagious," added Jamie Yutzie, one of the old man's granddaughters.
Thus, the six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and five children of the adorable grandfather will be able to celebrate Don Bill as he deserves. Of course, at a distance.
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