111-year-old Bob Weighton, recently-crowned world’s oldest man, said he is worried about the coronavirus but also insisted that it’s not as bad as the Spanish flu that took the lives of up to 100 million people.
The 1918 Spanish flu infected a third of the global population and caused between 50 and 100 million to die.
Mr. Weighton, who has lived through both world wars, admitted the coronavirus is a threat. “I’m very worried about coronavirus – everyone should be,” he expressed. “I should be worried about myself but I’ve lived long enough. But I’m more worried for my children and grandchildren.
“I’m washing my hands more and using a nailbrush to clean my nails properly. I’m being much more cautious.
“The numbers of people dying in China is scary. But in Europe and elsewhere, the numbers are still not reaching the millions that died of the Spanish flu.
“I hope they never do. But you never know how bad the coronavirus will get. You just have to do the best you can and not worry.”
Mr. Weighton continued: “I was only ten at the time of the Spanish flu. I remember hearing stories going round and reading newspaper articles – as I am doing now with the coverage of coronavirus – about people getting the Spanish flu and dying. But luckily I never got it.”
The 111-year-old also said that he has been lucky to avoid serious diseases. He had three children, ten grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Weighton still remembers the outbreak of the First World War. He trained in marine engineering when he was a teen and he moved to Taiwan where he became a teacher and met his wife Agnes.
In 1939, Mr. Weighton and his family tried to go back to the UK but after arriving in Canada, they were told that World War II had started.
After the Pearl Harbour attack, he was recruited by the British Political Warfare Mission because of his great knowledge of the Japanese language. He decoded messages of enemies and helped Americans win their fight.
After WWII, Mr. Weighton and his family returned to England where spent his working life as a professor in marine engineering until he retired at the age of 65.
He became the world’s oldest man on February 25 after Chitetsu Watanabe from Japan passed away at the age of 112.
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