Judy Woodruff: Throughout the pandemic, Americans in elder care homes have been some of the people most at risk from COVID-19.

But there are those in nursing homes who have survived the disease, despite their age.

Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features centenarian Grace Weissman-Spiegel-Davis, who shares what her experience was like.

Grace Weissman-Spiegel-Davis: I was a victim of the coronavirus. And I must say, I am happy that I survived this.

And I’m told I did come down with a fever. Truthfully, I wasn’t aware of it. And it might be that I was not mentally facing it.

There has been no activity in the hairdressing salon because of this pandemic which is going on. So I said, when I was asked to be interviewed, only if I can have my hair done. And that’s what happened. I had my hair done, so I’m number one on the hit parade.


I’m 102 years old, and I live in a retirement development called the Mary Wade Home, which is in New Haven, Connecticut.

As a little girl, we lived — it was a tenement, actually, in Harlem, New York, on 116th Street. I never heard of a pandemic before this one. We had what we called epidemics, and one was whooping cough.

And I remember my mother taking us on the subway to the Staten Island Ferry during the whooping cough epidemic, because saltwater was good for the whooping cough. I remember that very clearly.

Well, my life hasn’t changed much, and I feel like I still can have some fun and a few laughs and still have my mental facilities or faculties, I should say.


All I know is that I tell all my friends, if I die, please call my hairdresser first. I want to have my hair done and look well at my funeral.


I have led a nice life. I have been very fortunate.

I would like to be remembered as a good friend, as a good relative, and as a good person who lived on this wonderful Earth, and hope that it all works out well.

My name is Grace Weissman-Spiegel-Davis. And this was my not-so-brief, but spectacular life.

Judy Woodruff: Grace Weissman-Spiegel-Davis, we are so glad you survived, and a lot of us share your appreciation for hairdressers.