AVON-BY-THE-SEA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — One of the things that makes COVID-19 so cruel is how it’s separating families.

Because they’re in isolation, infected patients have to part ways with their family at the hospital door.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton has a personal story about someone she’s close and how she is coping.

Even consumed with worry, Alyssa Applebaum is one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet.

“I will never lose hope and I will keep praying and I know he’s gonna do it,” Applebaum said.


Layton has been friends with Applebaum since their days at Syracuse University. Last summer, they both celebrated her engagement to Kevin McNamara, surrounded by friends and family.

“The most wonderful man I’ve ever met in my life,” Applebaum said.

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Seven months later, McNamara isn’t allowed to have any family at his side as he battles COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit of Jersey Shore Medical Center.

“I want to run through those hospital doors and just run through the ICU. I want to hold his hand. I want to just be there for him,” Applebaum said.

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It was a rapid deterioration that started with a fever for the lawyer, who is in his 50s and had no underlying health issues. He even ran four miles a day. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance on March 28.

“Kevin called me Monday and said, ‘My breathing is not great. I can’t even get up to go to the bathroom at this point anymore.’ And then about an hour later they called me that they had put him on the ventilator,” Applebaum said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Quarantined in their Jersey Shore home, Applebaum calls the hospital at least three times a day for updates. She said the hospital workers are wonderful, but they are so busy they can only call when something’s wrong, so any time her phone does ring, “My heart drops to my toes,” she said.

“I don’t even know who these doctors are. I don’t know who they are. I’m trusting someone over a phone. You pray and you have confidence in these doctors that they are doing everything possible for him,” Applebaum added.

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Alyssa has found a way to turn that helpless feeling into a mission. She’s asking anyyone who may have had coronavirus to donate their plasma.

“We just need one donor for Kevin, but we could help so many people out there. We want to help as many people as possible. We don’t want people to be in this situation,” Applebaum said.

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When asked what she would say to McNamara if she could speak to him, Applebaum said, “Keep fighting. He’s the strongest man I know.”

She’s strong, too, and she’ll be fighting from home, until he comes home.


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