Woman dies 102 years after her sister passed away from the 1918 Spanish flu

‘It was so hard to not be with her’

James Crump
Monday 20 April 2020 23:16 BST
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A 96-year-old woman has died of coronavirus, 102 years after her older sister died of the Spanish Flu.

Selma Esther Ryan, died from coronavirus in an assisted living facility in Austin, Texas, on Monday 14 April.

Ms Ryan’s sister, Esther, died from the Spanish Flu when she was aged five, in 1918, six years before Ms Ryan was born.

On the day of Esther’s death, her mother gave birth to twin boys, named Karl and Victor.

Ms Ryan’s daughter, Vicki Spencer, told KXAN that she and five other people at the facility where she lived, developed fevers in early April.

She said that she was not able to be with Ms Ryan while she was ill: “Over the next five days I watched through the window as she got sicker and sicker. It was so hard to not be with her.”

Ms Spencer added that Ms Ryan was tested after she passed away, where it was confirmed she had contracted Covid-19.

Over the weekend, an anti-lockdown protest took place in Austin, where demonstrators protested against the social distancing measures ordered by governor Greg Abbott.

Mr Abbott started the process of re-opening Texas on Monday, by allowing people to visit state parks again.

On Sunday, the governor said he was keen to reopen Texas, but wanted to make sure it was done gradually.

“We don’t want to be a part of the problem, we want to be a part of the solution in opening up Texas again, at the right time, safely and in the right way,” he said.

Google’s dedicated coronavirus page shows that Texas has upwards of 18,923 confirmed cases and at least 5,334 deaths.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, nationally there are upwards of 776,513 people who have tested positive for coronavirus. The death toll has reached at least 41,313.

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