New Mexico woman, 105, who beat 1918 flu, is now battling coronavirus infection

The 1918 flu was one the worst pandemics in history, infecting one-third of the world’s population. How cities responded to the crisis in 1918 provides lessons on handling COVID-19 today.

A 105-year-old New Mexico woman who beat back the 1918 flu that killed millions, including her mother and infant sister, is battling COVID-19.

The Gallup Independent reports Lubica “Luby” Grenko, who will turn 106 in August, has been fighting the coronavirus since being diagnosed April 29 at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Gallup, N.M.

The Gallup-born Grenko was born when World War I began, then survived the 1918 flu pandemic before enduring the Great Depression and World War II.


The oldest Americans — people who are 100 or older — are among the most vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic.

The flu took the lives of Grenko’s mother, Marijeta Kauzlaric, 28, and younger sister, Annie Kauzlaric, who was a month old.

Grenko’s granddaughter Misty Tolson said her grandmother remembers her mother going into the hospital and never coming out.

Tolson said she didn’t think Grenko understood the current virus because she told one of the aides who walked in wearing protective gear: “What the heck do you have on?”