The Latest: 116-year-old recovers from COVID-19 in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey — A 116-year-old woman in Turkey has survived COVID-19, according to her son, making her one of the oldest patients to beat the disease.

Ayse Karatay has now been moved to a normal ward, her son Ibrahim told the Demiroren news agency on Saturday.

“My mother fell ill at the age of 116 and stayed in the intensive care unit for three weeks… Her health is very good now and she’s getting better,” he said.

French nun Sister Andre recovered from COVID-19 in February, days before her 117th birthday. She is the world’s second-oldest living person.

Ayse, from Emirdag in Afyonkarahisar, western Turkey, was treated in Eskisehir City Hospital after falling ill and testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

Ibrahim said she had only received one shot of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine before she became sick, adding that she was probably infected by a family member.

Ayse was born during the Ottoman Empire, when exact dates of birth were rarely officially recorded.



— Florida deals with deadliest phase yet of the pandemic

— Brazil starts booster shots while many still await a 2nd jab

— Virus pummels French Polynesia, straining ties with Paris

— US booster plan faces complications, some may miss Sept. 20 start

— U.S. hospitals hit with nurse staffing crisis; some travel for more pay


— Find more AP coverage at and



MIAMI — Florida is in the grip of its deadliest wave of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a disaster driven by the highly contagious delta variant.

While Florida’s vaccination rate is slightly higher than the national average, the Sunshine State has an outsize population of elderly people, who are especially vulnerable to the virus; a vibrant party scene, and a Republican governor who has taken a hard line against mask requirements, vaccine passports and business shutdowns.

As of mid-August, the state was averaging 244 deaths per day, up from just 23 a day in late June and eclipsing the previous peak of 227 during the summer of 2020. Because of both the way deaths are logged in Florida and lags in reporting, more recent figures on fatalities per day are incomplete.

Hospitals have had to rent refrigerated trucks to store more bodies. Funeral homes have been overwhelmed.


BERLIN — Germany’s top health official has called on more citizens to get vaccinated, warning that if the numbers don’t go up, hospitals may get overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients toward the end of the year.

Health Minister Jens Spahn tweeted that “we need at least 5 million vaccinations for a safe autumn and winter.”

More than 61% of the German population, or 50.9 million people, are fully vaccinated. However, the daily vaccination rate has been dropping while infection cases have been going up again for weeks.

On Saturday, Germany’s disease control agency reported 10,835 new COVID-19 cases, up from 10,303 a week ago.

The health minister told daily Hannoversche Zeitung that “the number of people who have been vaccinated is too low to prevent an overburdening of the health system.” He said that currently 90 % of COVID-19 patients in intensive care are unvaccinated, German news agency dpa reported.


LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — A group of virus deniers and anti-vaccination protesters have broken into the building of Slovenia’s public broadcaster, triggering a police intervention.

The confrontation happened Friday night evening in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Local media say about 20 people burst into the RTV Slovenia building and managed to push their way into a news studio before police arrived and drove them out.

The studio wasn’t on the air when the protesters broke in demanding to be allowed to broadcast their opinions. Vaccine opponents have gathered outside the building for months, often disrupting journalists coming to or from work, the STA news agency reported.

The head of RTVS, Andrej Grah Whatmough, described Friday’s incident as “a grave attack on our media house and public media outlet, which we condemn in the strongest terms.” Whatmough says RTVS management will beef up security.

Slovenia has seen an increase in daily reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand reported its first coronavirus death in more than six months on Saturday, while the number of new cases continued to trend downward.

Health authorities said the woman who died was in her 90s and had underlying health problems.

Authorities reported 20 new community cases, all in the largest city of Auckland.

New Zealand remains in lockdown as it tries to eliminate an outbreak of the delta variant that began last month.

New cases in the outbreak have steadily fallen from a peak of more than 80 each day. New Zealand has so far escaped the worst of the pandemic and has reported just 27 coronavirus deaths since it began.


SAO PAULO — Some cities in Brazil are providing booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine, even though most people have yet to receive their second jabs.

The move reflects the concern in the country over the highly contagious delta variant. Rio de Janeiro, currently Brazil’s epicenter for the variant and home to one of its largest elderly populations, began administering the boosters Wednesday.

The northeastern cities of Salvador and Sao Luis started on Monday, and the most populous city of Sao Paulo will begin Sept. 6. The rest of the nation will follow the next week.

France, Italy, China and Chile are among those countries offering boosters, but much greater shares of their populations are fully inoculated than the 30% in Brazil.

A U.S. plan to start delivery of booster shots by Sept. 20 for most Americans is facing complications that could delay third doses for those who received the Moderna vaccine, administration officials said Friday.


PAPEETE, Tahiti — France’s worst coronavirus outbreak is unfolding 12 times zones away from Paris, devastating Tahiti and other idyllic islands of French Polynesia.

The South Pacific archipelagos lack enough oxygen, ICU beds and morgue space – and their vaccination rate is barely half the national average. Simultaneous outbreaks on remote islands and atolls are straining the ability of local authorities to evacuate patients to the territory’s few hospitals.

“The problem is, there are a lot of deaths before we get there,” lamented Vincent Simon, the head of the regional emergency service.

French Polynesia is France’s latest challenge in juggling resources to battle the pandemic in former colonies that stretch around the world. With more than 2,800 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, it holds the national record for the highest infection rate.

And that’s only an estimate: Things are so bad that the multi-ethnic territory of about 300,000 residents stopped counting new infections as local health authorities redeployed medical staff to focus on patient care and vaccination instead of testing.


MADRID — Spain is tweaking its travel entry rules from next week to require vaccination certificates from U.S. tourists, adjusting to recent European Union advice on stricter rules due to growing anxiety over coronavirus contagion in the U.S.

The European Council’s decision earlier this week to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel also came amid unanswered calls from European officials for “reciprocity” in travel rules. Despite the EU’s move to open its borders to U.S. citizens in June, the U.S. didn’t allow EU tourists in.

Spain, a major tourism destination, is among a handful of EU countries that has announced steps to adjust its entry rules to the Council’s recommendation.

The country published Friday the new guidelines on its official gazette, also removing Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe list.

Under the rules, U.S. tourists will no longer be admitted from Monday, Sept. 6, unless they can show proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip.


ATLANTA — A nurse staffing crisis is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get reinforcements to handle the crush of COVID-19 patients this summer.

The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. Many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.

In Texas, more than 6,000 travel nurses have flooded the state to help through a state-supported program. But the same time 19 travel nurses started work at a hospital in the northern part of the state, 20 other nurses there gave notice they’d be leaving for a traveling contract, said Carrie Kroll, a vice president at the Texas Hospital Association.


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s plan to start delivery of booster shots by Sept. 20 for most Americans who received COVID-19 vaccines is facing complications that could delay the availability for those who received the Moderna vaccine, administration officials said Friday.

Biden announced last month that his administration was preparing to administer boosters to provide more enduring protection against the coronavirus, pending approvals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. He recommended boosters eight months after the second shot.

However, those agencies are awaiting critical data before signing off on the third doses, with Moderna’s vaccine increasingly seen as unlikely to make the Sept. 20 date.

According to one official, Moderna produced inadequate data for the FDA and CDC to approve the third dose of its vaccine. The FDA has requested additional data that is likely to delay those boosters into October. Pfizer is further along in the review process, with an FDA panel review on boosters on Sept. 17.


MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s $100 reward program for those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will be extended two weeks until Sept. 19.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers says extending the incentive will give an opportunity for more people to get vaccinated. The program began Aug. 20 and was originally scheduled to end Monday.

Between Aug. 20 and Sept. 1, more than 65,000 people received their first dose. Evers launched the program amid a spike in cases across the state caused by the more infectious delta variant. The level of new cases and hospitalizations are at a level not seen since January.

On Aug. 22, the day before Evers announced the program, the seven-day average of vaccinations in Wisconsin was 8,360. That grew to 9,712 as of Wednesday. More than 3 million people are fully vaccinated in Wisconsin, about 52% of the total population. Among adults age 18 and over, more than 62% are fully vaccinated.


NEW YORK — There will be celebrations and somber reflections as American Jews observe the upcoming High Holy Days. There also will be disappointment as rabbis once again cancel or limit in-person worship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chief culprit is the quick-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus. Its surge has dashed widespread hopes that this year’s observances, unlike those of 2020, could once again fill synagogues with congregants worshipping side by side. One rabbi in Florida has decided to hold only virtual services for the holy days.

Other synagogues are offering a mix of in-person and virtual offerings. Temple Beth El, in Augusta, Maine, will require masks inside the synagogue. Workers also erected a big tent in the yard for an outdoor service Sept. 7.

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