86-year-old Italian woman beats coronavirus after 7 weeks in hospital: VIDEO

CASALPUSTERLENGO, Italy -- An 86-year-old woman broke down tears as she left a hospital in northern Italy after a weeks-long battle with COVID-19.

The woman, identified only as Gianna, was shown being wheeled out of the hospital in a video posted to Facebook by Elia Delmiglio, the mayor of Casalpusterlengo. Delmiglio shared Gianna's story with the blessing of her family.

Delmiglio said Gianna contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, during a hospital stay. Over the course of seven weeks, she spent time in two different hospitals.

"She fought hard with all her strength in these weeks and, thanks to incredible work by doctors and nurses, managed to recover from COVID-19," Delmiglio wrote on Facebook. "Among the many stories of pain and suffering, Gianna's recovery gives us a great deal of hope."

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. Over 100,000 people have recovered, including nearly 60,000 in China and more than 7,000 in Italy.

In Italy, doctors and nurses have begged the government to provide more masks, gloves and goggles and urged the public to understand how important onerous social distancing measures really are. Scientists say stopping just one person from getting the virus means scores of others will not become infected down the road.

"Help us help you," Dr. Francesca De Gennaro, who heads a small medical clinic in Italy's hard-hit Bergamo region, wrote in an open letter.

The rate of increase in Italy has slowed slightly, noted Dr. Hans Kluge, the head of the WHO's European office. He said officials hope to soon figure out whether lockdown measures in numerous countries have worked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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