Ninety-year-old Anna Fortunato’s remarkable recovery from COVID-19 is offering a glimmer of hope during the chaos surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.
Because of the Long Island native’s age, an underlying health condition, and the dangers that COVID-19 presents, it’s no surprise that her recovery has been described as a “miracle.”
Her experience with the virus encouraged her to inform others that with a little bit of optimism and a whole lot of prayer, it is possible to survive something so terrible.
“Keep on fighting, have that positive attitude, and pray,” Fortunato said to The Associated Press. “And get out of bed. Don’t stay in bed all the time. … And I want to say to them, ‘If I did it, you can do it.’”
“In the hospital, they said I was a miracle,” she added. “Maybe I was. But I worked at it, let me tell you something.”
Fortunato first began feeling ill on March 13 and told The Western Journal that her symptoms were initially “cold-like,” but became increasingly worse.
She soon got to the point where she could no longer walk, her appetite was gone and she felt as if she had “an elephant” sitting on her chest.
Her daughter, Teresa Gund recalled a phone conversation she and her mother had before the illness got worse. Fortunato had assured her daughter that she only had a cold.
“I’ll be fine,” she told her daughter.
Prior to falling ill, the 90-year-old maintained her health, aside from asthma that she developed late in life. Those who have asthma may be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
As the virus quickly worsened over the course of the weekend, Gund requested that the staff from her mother’s assisted living facility, The Arbors in Jericho, call an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital.
Gund shared that her heart was completely broken knowing that her family couldn’t be by her mother’s side during such a difficult time.
“Not being able to be with my mom in the hospital was heartbreaking. I was at a loss and didn’t know what to do other than pray to God for her to be healed,” Gund told The Western Journal.
As Fortunato’s health declined, her daughter requested that a priest come to give her mother last rites.
However, because of the high risk that comes with exposure to the coronavirus, the hospital declined her request.
As days went by and her condition continued to worsen, doctors were running out of options to care for Fortunato.
In desperation, they decided it was necessary to try an anti-malarial drug, the same one that President Donald Trump has been under fire for promoting.
After she received the anti-malarial treatment, her symptoms began improving, and she was discharged from the hospital after a total of 13 days.
“I truly believe that the malaria drug had a big part in saving my life,” Fortunato told The Western Journal.
Even though Fortunato believes the drug played a significant role in her recovery, she ultimately believes that the power of prayer is what saved her life during her battle with COVID-19.
“I believe in the power of prayer and prayed to God to help me to overcome this illness … I am a very spiritual person and I knew that this would be the only way that I could survive.”
Though it will take some time for her life to get back to normal, Fortunato is beyond thankful to be alive after her long and difficult fight with COVID-19.
“I have been home from the hospital for 2 weeks now, I am improving everyday health-wise, I am still confined to my room but I try to keep myself occupied.”
“[W]e must all believe in power of prayer,” she added. “I thank all of the nurses and doctors that helped me.”
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