Oregon Veteran Beats Coronavirus at 95

95-year-old World War II veteran Bill Kelly has reportedly recovered from the novel coronavirus after his March 17 diagnosis.
Rose Ayers-Etherington/Facebook

95-year-old World War II veteran Bill Kelly has reportedly recovered from the novel coronavirus after his March 17 diagnosis.

Bill Kelly, one of the first American boots on the ground in the South Pacific during World War II, is known within his family for his resilience. But when the Great Depression survivor ran a fever on March 15, they were not taking any chances. Kelly suffers from numerous health complications, including kidney disease, a congenital heart condition, and high blood pressure.

Kelly’s granddaughter’s husband is a medical evacuation pilot, and the increased risk of exposure to the global pandemic prompted the family to have him tested for coronavirus. And while his grandson-in-law tested negative, Kelly’s test was confirmed positive two days later.

“Tough as nails,” Kelly holed up in his room, watching movies. “We’re going just fine here,” Kelly told The Oregonian. “We’re toughing it out. I’ve got two great-grandsons to keep me busy. I’ve been very fortunate.” Still, the process was “nerve-wracking,” Ayers-Etherington said. “We were just drinking hot tea all the time. Taking zinc. Washing our hands constantly.”

One week after his diagnosis, she posted a message cheering on her grandpa for “kicking [COVID-19] in the butt.”

“We still have a week to go and understand that things can change,” she wrote, “but we have faith that God has blessed grandpa, and we feel honored to be with him, supporting and caring for him in this time.”

As of March 30, Kelly has won yet another battle — in a different sort of world war. “Grandpa Bill’s pretty hardcore,” Ayers-Etherington said. Kelly himself was not shy about his agreement: “I survived the foxholes of Guam,” she said he told her. “I can get through this Corona Virus bull****.”

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