Great grandmother thought to be the oldest person to survive COVID-19

Vera Mueller celebrated a milestone most of us can only dream about – reaching her 104th birthday.

Two days later, Vera, from Winona, Minnesota, tested positive for COVID-19.

Vera was suffering with a fever, struggled to breathe and was coughing. She had to be given oxygen and was quarantined to a different room at the long-term care home where she lives.

“She’d just tell us that she was so sick and everything and didn’t feel good. That was about it,” said Vera’s son Bob Mueller.


But two weeks later Vera had completely recovered. The mother of three, who also has 6 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, is thought to be one of the oldest people to survive the virus.

Bill Lapschies from Oregon celebrated his 104th birthday at the start of April after surviving the horrific virus. He’s 9 days younger than Vera.

Vera’s son Bob said his mom didn’t like having to leave her room at the care home.

‘To keep fighting’

“She always kept saying, ‘I want to get back to my own room.’ And I think that gave her the willpower, maybe, to keep fighting,” said Bob, according to KARE11 News.

Family were forced to stay away from Vera even before she tested positive for the virus because of COVID-19 visitor restrictions. They were only allowed to see her outside her window.


“Just by their excellent taking care of her, she pulled through it,” Bob said. 

Vera had to celebrate her special day without hugs from family members, as so many families are forced to stay away from their elderly relatives to protect them from the spread of the virus.

‘We treasure every day’

“That’s the bittersweet part of this. We’re happy for her but at the same time … she’s lost a couple of her friends down there to this who were younger than her. So it’s really hard,” Bob said. 

“It’s been her faith and her family that’s helped her through all this,” he added. “104… we treasure every day that we get to see her yet.”

We must remember that we’re in this together and this is what’s going to get us through this, just like family gave Vera the strength to survive.

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