The global COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime situation for most of the world as people were introduced to new norms, but not for Safiye Pehlivan, who over her long life of 106 years has faced two pandemics, namely malaria and COVID-19, and she prays to Allah to protect and aid hardworking healthcare professionals.
Safiye Pehlivan, the oldest resident of her town at 106, was born in Greece, in a village near Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province, and moved to Turkey with her family in 1956.
Pehlivan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that she lived through the malaria epidemic in Greece in the early 1950s.
Stating that malaria also cost the lives of many people, Pehlivan said that she lost two of her siblings to the disease.
Malaria is transmitted to humans through infected mosquito bites. Although it is preventable and even curable, it is still a life-threatening disease, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
People who contract malaria typically develop high fevers, shaking chills and a flu-like illness, somewhat similar to COVID-19.
She urged people to follow coronavirus safety measures. Noting that she is most empathetic for healthcare professionals, she called their efforts on the frontlines of the virus fight invaluable.
Speaking on her lifestyle, Pehlivan stated that she has a healthy diet and gets regular sleep, going to bed early in the evening and rising with the first light.
She also avoids processed food and suggests avoiding stress for a long life.
Since originating in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 2.7 million lives in 192 countries and regions.
Over 123.7 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries surpassing 70 million, according to figures compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S., Brazil and India remain the worst-hit countries in terms of cases.
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