William Bill Lapschies, a US World War II veteran, has celebrated his 104th birthday with a social distancing party, days after he was discharged from hospital with coronavirus.


According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Lapschies — who also survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic — is believed to be the world’s oldest coronavirus survivor.

On March 5, he was said to have first displayed symptoms commonly associated with the deadly virus.

Consequently, he was placed in isolation at the Edward Allworth veterans’ home in Lebanon, Oregon, where he currently resides.


On March 11, medical results had revealed that Lapschies tested positive for the virus alongside another man at the veterans’ home — who eventually died of the novel disease.

Oregon veteran recovers from COVID-19, celebrates 104th birthday (Jonathan Levinson/OPB)

On Wednesday, his family as well as friends were said to have flooded the veterans’ home carrying balloons and cake to celebrate his recovery from the virus on his birthday with a social distancing party.


He was said to have told Jamie Yutzie, his granddaughter, that he didn’t know how he survived the virus.

“I don’t know. It just went away. Sit out here and you can get rid of anything,” he was quoted as saying.

Rob Richardson, his doctor at the veterans’ home, said Lapschies had a moderate case of the virus, hence his chances of survival.

“This could have easily gone another way. There’s not a lot of interventions that can be done,” he said.

Bill Lapschies arrives for his 104th birthday party. (Jonathan Levinson/OPB)

Richardson further explained that he had no severe respiratory issues as well as a history of being under a long term health care facility making it easier for him to be treated without being hospitalised.

Born in 1916, Lapschies stretches the list of second world war veterans from Oregon who had survived the killer virus.

Billy Kelly, one of the veterans, had earlier survived the virus at 95.


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