‘Very Lucky’: 116-Year-Old French Nun, Europe’s Oldest Person, Beats COVID-19


A 116-year-old French woman who bears the distinction of being the oldest person in Europe survived a bout of COVID-19.

Lucile Randon, who turns 117 on Thursday and also goes by the name Sister André, beat the coronavirus after testing positive last month at the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home in Toulon, a city in southern France, according to Reuters.

The home quarantined her from the rest of the residents, though Randon, who is blind, exhibited no symptoms.

Regarding whether she was frightened to have come down with the disease that poses particular danger to the elderly, Randon told France’s BFM Television: “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die… I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother.”

“We consider her to be cured,” said David Tavella, a spokesman for retirement home. “She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.”She has been very lucky,” he added.

Born Feb. 11, 1904, Randon not only is the oldest person in Europe but also the second-oldest person in the world after Kane Tanaka, who beats her by a year at the age of 118, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Tavella said that Randon’s birthday celebration will be smaller than usual because of COVID-19 infection risk.Adults over the age of 85 are 13 times more likely to need hospitalization from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They are also 630 times more likely to die from the virus.

According to an October 2020 report from the CDC:

During February 12–October 15, 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in approximately 7,900,000 aggregated reported cases and approximately 216,000 deaths in the United States.* Among COVID-19–associated deaths reported to national case surveillance during February 12–May 18, persons aged ≥65 years and members of racial and ethnic minority groups were disproportionately represented.

Rates of COVID-19 among nursing home residents continue to be substantial, according to a more recent CDC study in January:

There has been a substantial incidence of COVID-19 among nursing home residents and staff since May 2020. Rates of COVID-19 among residents and staff members in nursing homes fluctuated during weeks ending May 31–November 22, with regional and temporal variability; however, trends resembled those in the surrounding communities. These data suggest that increases in community rates might be associated with increases in nursing home COVID-19 incidence and that nursing home mitigation strategies need to include a comprehensive plan to monitor local SARS-CoV-2 transmission and minimize high-risk exposures within facilities.


Nursing homes are high-risk, congregate settings that require a comprehensive infection prevention and control strategy to reduce SARS-CoV-2 entry into the facility and mitigate transmission to prevent severe outcomes. CDC’s nursing home guidance provides tiered recommendations for different phases of a COVID-19 response and should be implemented in addition to CMS regulatory requirements (9). Prioritization of nursing home residents and staff members for SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is an additional strategy to assist mitigation (10). Guidance and federal requirements could be further improved through assessing factors associated with the incidence of COVID-19 among nursing home staff members and residents, including factors associated with community-acquired infections leading to transmission within nursing homes.

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