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COVID at age 101
Milton Navrot fights off coronavirus
Milton Navrot is shown at his 100th birthday celebration in October 2018 at St. Matthew Church in Statesboro. Now 101, Navrot was just released from East Georgia Regional Medical Center after a bout with COVID-19. - photo by JIM HEALY/staff

Milton Navrot says he didn’t even know he had COVID-19 when he tested positive recently. “Just a little phlegm, a cough,” he said. 

Having the virus doesn’t seem to bother the 101-year-old at all.

Actually, Navrot will be 102 in a few months. He did spend about six days in the hospital, “but it was mainly a urinary tract infection he had along with COVID that made him so sick” and likely caused a fever, said his niece Susan Riley, a Statesboro nurse practitioner.
Navrot lives at Gentilly Gardens, where he likes to spend his days “following the stock market.” 

He is lively and talkative and appears to have a memory sharper than most.

“I bought my first stock at age 13,” he said during a recent telephone conversation with a news reporter. “It was three shares of AT&T at $105 a share.” Then he rattled off a spiel of figures as he spoke of how much profit the shares brought over the years.

He would much rather talk about his life than about his experience with the virus.

“It really didn’t bother me,” he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, precautions are strict at long-term care facilities, but no plan is completely fail-safe. Navrot’s caregiver, who Riley said is a beloved asset to the family, contracted the coronavirus and inadvertently passed it on to Navrot. The caregiver remains seriously ill, Riley said. But her uncle seems to have overcome the virus relatively unscathed.

Usually the coronavirus affects the elderly or those with underlying conditions more severely than younger patients, according to reports from health officials. But Navrot says he wasn’t brought down by the virus because he has always been healthy.

“When I was a kid, there wasn’t TV or junk food,” he said. “We played outside — football, basketball. When you are young, that is when your heart and lungs develop. My doctor told me I have the heart of a 65-year-old.”

Riley, who asked her uncle about 10 years ago to move to Statesboro so she could help care for him and his late wife, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, said she is amazed by his tenacity, awareness and energy.

“His only disabilities are (lessened) hearing and eyesight,” she said.

Navrot is certainly spry for his age. He relishes talking about his life — a stint in the Navy, a life of buying and selling real estate, being involved in the stock market and working as a licensed financial advisor kept him busy, but he also found odd jobs such as helping direct a woman’s home. He grew up in Long Island in New York, later lived in Roanoke, Virginia, and now enjoys south Georgia, he said.

He and his wife never had children; scarlet fever in the Navy affected him adversely, and “the closest we came” to having a child was a miscarriage, he said.

When asked to talk about changes in the world during his lifetime, Navrot seems to prefer to talk about the present.
“That Donald Trump!” he said. “He should wear a mask! He is not setting a good example. But you can’t tell Trump anything.”

Riley said she is grateful to see Navrot winning the battle against COVID-19.

“I hope I get those genes,” she said. “COVID seems to hit people so differently.”

As far as advice for people who want to live as long as Navrot, he suggests putting down the junk food, turning off the TV and getting some exercise outside.


Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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