Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

'I've still got life to live': 100-year-old woman in west Japan recovers from COVID-19

Ayako Ito, right, a 100-year-old woman who recovered from COVID-19, and Dr. Taku Yamaguchi of the Omihachiman Community Medical Center, who headed her care, are seen in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on May 10, 2021. (Mainichi/Kenji Konoha)

OTSU -- A 100-year-old woman hospitalized in January with the coronavirus and discharged after about a month has described her recovery at a May 10 press conference held with one of her doctors.

    Ayako Ito, a resident of the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, recovered dramatically from a serious bout of COVID-19 that left her needing to be given oxygen. She smiled and said, "Trusting doctors is the most important thing in treatment, and overcoming myself is also important."

    Ito was born in 1920 and grew up in Otsu. On Jan. 10, 2021, aged 100, she was confirmed infected with the coronavirus. A hospital bed was prepared, and she was admitted the next day to the Omihachiman Community Medical Center in the prefectural city of Omihachiman.

    Though her condition deteriorated to the point that she needed to be administered oxygen, she recovered after receiving medication and other treatments. After rehabilitation, she was discharged on Feb. 5. She lives with her daughter, and has recovered now to the point that she can lead a normal life at home.

    It was her first time in hospital for an extended period, and she said she couldn't believe it when she found out she had the coronavirus. After her symptoms settled down, she passed the time in hospital writing senryu poetry and practicing qi gong, or breathing exercises, as she has done for many years.

    Dr. Taku Yamaguchi, who led her care, recalled, "She was always positive and kept inspiring herself." People who recover from coronavirus infections reportedly tend to stay motivated during hospitalization, such as by putting on makeup and doing origami or knitting.

    But in reference to rapidly increasing infections, he stressed: "If hospital beds become strained, it will not only affect coronavirus patients but also the region's emergency medical services."

    "It is important to wash your hands after everything you do, and the only way to avoid infection is to refrain from risky activities," he continued.

    Ito is so fit that she was once featured on a TV program for her ability to perform the "V-shaped balance," a pose where both legs are raised from a sitting position on the floor, aged 100.

    "When the coronavirus pandemic is over, I want to go see professional baseball games and travel overseas. I've still got life to live," said Ito.

    (Japanese original by Misaki Morokuma, Otsu Bureau)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media