‘She has superhuman DNA:’ 101-year-old woman beats COVID-19, has survived 2 pandemics and cancer


In the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, Angelina Friedman was born on a passenger ship taking immigrants from Italy to New York City.

Now, nearly 102 years later, she has survived a second pandemic.

Friedman, a resident of the North Westchester Restorative Therapy and Nursing Center, was taken to the hospital on March 21 for a minor medical procedure.

When she tested positive for COVID-19, the procedure was postponed, and Friedman spent a week in the hospital. She returned to the nursing home and was isolated in her room.

“My mother is a survivor,” Joanne Merola said by phone. “She survived miscarriages, internal bleeding and cancer.”

Because her mother is nearly deaf, they can’t speak on the phone.

Merola marvels at her mother’s endurance.

“She is not human,” Merola said. “She has superhuman DNA.”

“If my mother could see this, I’d say, ‘Keep going, Ma. You’re going to outlive us all,'” Merola said.