104-Year-Old WWII Vet Recovers From Coronavirus, Celebrates Birthday in Same Week
By Elias Marat
A World War II veteran from Oregon has plenty of reason to celebrate after he just turned 104 and also beat back CoViD-19, making him one of the oldest people to survive the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
William “Bill” Lapschies, who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, was one of a pair of residents at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home in the city of Lebanon to test positive for the disease, reports KOIN.
The 104-year-old’s recovery from the deadly virus is just the latest in a life that proved his resilience. According to family members, the veteran not only survived being stationed in the Aleutian Islands, but he also lived through the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and a few recessions.
Lapschies—a great-great grandfather to five, great-grandfather to six, and grandfather of two—had been voluntarily self-isolating since he entered the symptomatic phase of CoViD-19 on March 5.
He wasn’t diagnosed with the infection until March 10, according to the Oregonian. Just days later, a doctor from the veterans’ home told Lapschies’ daughter Carolee Brown that his health had rapidly degraded—with his temperature spiking and breathing problems increasing. At that point, Brown began to consider decisions regarding Lapschies’ death, which appeared more and more likely.
During his spell in isolation, staffers at the veterans’ home cared for him while clad in personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, medical face masks, and face shields.
However, as of this week Lapschies “has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from CoViD-19,” a VA spokesperson said.
So far, 15 residents have tested positive while two have died from the pandemic, according to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Lapschies told KOIN that turning 104 feels “pretty good.”
I made it,” he said, before he paused and added: “Good for a few more.”
Brown excitedly said:
It seemed like he just made this wonderful recovery … We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window and we were like, ‘He’s gonna make it!’
For granddaughter Jamie Yutzie, the smile on Lapschies’ face is unforgettable. She said:
His smile, I wish you could have seen it … That mask covers it but his smile is absolutely contagious.
Lapschies isn’t the only centenarian to have successfully recovered from the disease caused by the coronavirus. Two women aged 103, one from Iran and one from China, also survived. Last week, a 101-year-old Italian man who also survived the Spanish flu successfully recovered from CoViD-19 as well.