103-Year-Old Woman Survives Coronavirus

An 103-year-old woman in Iran has survived being infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), despite elderly patients being at significantly greater risk of death from the novel virus.

Iran's Islamic Republic New Agency (IRNA) said that the unidentified centenarian was diagnosed and hospitalized in the central city of Semnan, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Wednesday. The unidentified woman was "discharged after making a complete recovery" after being hospitalized for about a week, Navid Danayi, head of the Semnan University of Medical Sciences, said.

Previously, Iran reported that a 91-year-old man from the city of Kerman had also survived the virus. He reportedly recovered on Monday after being ill for three days and having pre-existing health conditions – asthma and high blood pressure – which increase the risk of complications from coronavirus.

Iranian couple
An elderly man and a woman, wearing a protective mask, walk along a street in Iran's capital Tehran on March 15 as their country remains one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic STRINGER/AFP/Getty

Iran has been one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, with the impact of U.S. sanctions reportedly making it more difficult for the country to obtain vital medical supplies and medication to address the pandemic. On Wednesday, Iran's Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi confirmed that 1,135 people had died of coronavirus in the country, according to IRNA. Raisi also said there had been 1,192 new confirmed cases of infection within the last day.

In total, he said more than 17,000 people have been infected in the Persian Gulf Nation, while 5,710 have recovered. Iran has the third-highest number of confirmed infections of any country, only surpassed by China and Italy, according to a coronavirus tracker by John Hopkins University.

The 103-year-old Iranian woman isn't the first centenarian to reportedly survive the coronavirus. China's Xinhua News Agency reported on March 7 that an 100-year-old man had recovered from the virus and had been discharged from a hospital in Wuhan after being treated for 13 days.

Although the news agency did not reveal the man's identity, it said he had just turned 100 in February and was born in 1920. He also reportedly had underlying health conditions including hypertension, heart problems and Alzheimer's disease.

Globally there have now been more than 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. More than 82,000 people have recovered, while just over 8,000 have died as of Wednesday morning.

While the overall death rate is still unclear, health experts have estimated it could be about 2 percent. While the global death rate from confirmed cases currently appears to be about 4 percent, health experts have noted that many infections have gone unreported as a large percentage of people are asymptomatic.

Younger people generally appear to be at lower risk of dying from the virus, with the death rate increasing among the elderly. Pre-existing health conditions – such as respiratory problems, heart disease and diabetes – also seem to exacerbate the infection.