Meet 108 Year Old Woman Who Survived Spanish Flu And Coronavirus Without Ventilators

Meet 108 Year Old Woman Who Survived Spanish Flu And Coronavirus Without Ventilators

New York: Last month, relatives of Sylvia Goldsholl received troubling news from her New Jersey nursing home: She had contracted the coronavirus and was in isolation.

With the virus proving especially deadly for older people, the prognosis seemed dire for Goldsholl, who turned 108 in December.

“This is killing people in nursing homes all over New Jersey and the country,” said Nancy Chazen, a niece of Goldsholl. “Quite honestly, I thought that was going to be the end - I mean, she’s 108.”

Two weeks later, relatives received another call.

“They told us, ‘She’s fully recovered,’” said Chazen, whose aunt has become one of the oldest COVID-19 survivors in the world.
Nationwide, roughly one-third of the 86,607 coronavirus deaths have been nursing home patients or workers.

Long-term care facilities have become hot spots, filled with a vulnerable population and requiring close interactions between residents and caretakers, many of whom have complained that they had not received enough protective equipment.

Goldsholl, who lives in the Allendale Community for Senior Living in Allendale, New Jersey, was born on Dec. 29, 1911, and grew up in the Bronx, New York, the eldest of four children of Russian immigrant parents.
Larry Goldsholl said that when he heard his aunt had contracted the virus, “we didn’t know what to think because she has survived so much at this point.”

“We thought, ‘Well, this could be it,’ but knowing Sylvia, I should have known better,” he said. “She’s pretty spunky, and it seems like people who live that long have good immune systems.”

Michael Brienza, an administrator for the Allendale center, said Goldsholl was never hospitalized or put on a ventilator.

“She’s got a survivor’s mentality,” he said. “Her family supported her through all this and, like she says, love helps you get through things.”

A 108-year-old man in New Mexico has also survived the virus.

At his daily briefing on the virus on Thursday, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey hailed Goldsholl - “a tremendous life, a tremendous spirit, and a tremendous show of strength” - as a role model.

Goldsholl worked as a bookkeeper and never married or had children, her relatives said. She lived in her childhood home until moving to New Jersey 20 years ago and finally moved into the center in Allendale 13 years ago.


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