While COVID-19 has targeted the elderly, there have been some success stories of older people making a full recovery from the virus.
The latest is from a 95-year-old World War II veteran who lives in Oregon. After Bill Kelly discovered that he tested positive for coronavirus on March 17, his health has improved, The Oregonian reports.
“Grandpa Bill’s pretty hardcore,” his granddaughter Rose Ayers-Etherington told the publication, adding that he lived through the Great Depression and was one of the first U.S. soldiers to arrive in the South Pacific during WWII.
Kelly started feeling sick and had a low-grade fever on March 15. Because his age deems him as high-risk, and because he has a few underlying medical conditions—such as kidney disease, a congenital heart condition, and high blood pressure—Kelly stayed in a hospital overnight.
He came home the next day when he felt better. But Kelly was ultimately tested for coronavirus after doctors found out that his granddaughter’s husband—who is a medical evacuation pilot—had come into contact with patients who were possibly exposed to the virus. Kelly’s test came back positive.
Ayers-Etherington's husband Isaac Etherington was the only other person in her family who was tested for COVID-19, which came back negative. Kelly lives in a home with his granddaughter, her mother, her husband, and their two kids, a 5-year-old and an 11-month-old.
No one else exhibited symptoms while Kelly isolated himself in a bedroom. Any surface that he touched was disinfected and he wore a mask when he left the bedroom. “But it was still nerve-wracking,” Ayers-Etherington told the newspaper. “We were just drinking hot tea all the time. Taking zinc. Washing our hands constantly.”
Her husband said Kelly was treated “like a leper” during the first week of quarantine. But the granddaughter said that Kelly is “tough as nails.” He said, “We’re doing just fine here. We’re toughing it out. I’ve got two great-grandsons to keep me busy. I’ve been very fortunate.”
In a Facebook post, Ayers-Etherington shared her grandfather’s diagnosis and said he was “kicking it in the butt” even though he was high-risk. “In his words, ‘I survived the foxholes of Guam, I can get through this Coronavirus bullshit,'” she wrote. “He has strong mental resolve. He has seen tough times and knows how to get through them.”
She also wrote about the seriousness of coronavirus. “It’s real and it’s here and it needs to be respected,” she wrote. “Just hoping grandpa Bill’s story will encourage you and put a smile on your face. Also, the rest of us are healthy.”
Last week, a 101-year-old Italian man also fully recovered from COVID-19. He was admitted to a hospital mid-month and was in good health after a week’s time.