Florida Nurse Forced to Live Apart from Family During Coronavirus Outbreak: 'You Get Lonely'

Nurse Kyle McBride is on the frontlines of coronavirus and has separated himself from his family for their safety

Kyle McBride
Photo: Kyle McBride

As hospitals around the country are becoming inundated with new patients amid coronavirus, many healthcare workers who are spending countless hours caring for those in need of help have seen their home lives affected as well.

Kyle McBride — a nurse at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Florida — recently posted a photograph to his Facebook page that demonstrated the way the virus has affected his family during the pandemic. In the picture, McBride and his 4-year-old daughter are seen placing their hands together on opposite sides of a door window, and it’s the closest to his family the father-of-four will allow himself to be until the outbreak is over.

It was in March that McBride and his wife, Heather, decided they would live in separate places to protect the family from the virus, which can often show no symptoms in those who have been infected. That means, after working hours at the hospital, McBride can’t even return to normalcy inside the confines of his own home.

“In the beginning, it was a little bit easier since I had some stuff to do around the house. But after that, after a little while, and it’s become tough,’ McBride, 36, tells PEOPLE. “There are definitely times where you get lonely. We do a lot of our communication through FaceTime, but it’s still not the same, you’re not able to be there.”

To help with the distance between them, McBride says his children — who range in age from 14 months to 10 — have left him presents on his doorstep while he’s away at the hospital. Things like that “have boosted me up,” he says.

And while the gestures are infinitely meaningful, McBride still can’t help but feel the weight of the experiences he has missed since placing himself in isolation.

“Whether it’s my daughter saying some more words that I didn’t get to hear first, or my sons doing something special that I’m just not there for, that’s what I miss,” he admits. “That memory missing hurts — even missing out on making a memory they don’t even know that I would make.”

“There are some days I get home and I’m, don’t want to say the word, depressed, but upset or sad,” he adds.

When McBride uploaded the picture of him and his daughter to Facebook, he says it was in response to one of his neighbors throwing a birthday party that did not respect social distancing guidelines.

“People are still just taking it for granted, and I’m over here separated from my family,” he says. “So I want people to think about this picture when you are thinking about doing something that really you shouldn’t be doing.”

As of Friday afternoon, at least 6,600 people have died from coronavirus around the United States, according to the New York Times.

Kyle McBride
McBride and his family. Kyle McBride

At Osceola Regional Medical Center, McBride says he and his colleagues are doing the best they can amid the circumstances, but they are under a constant level of pressure.

“The only way I can describe the hospital scenario is really just the word, stressed,” he says. “Stressed because of the unknown.”

He hopes by speaking out and sharing how the virus has affected every aspect of his life, others will take safety precautions more seriously.

“We, as a society, just need to lock arms as a community and just get it over with,” McBride says. “The goal is to get this virus out of here so we can go back to our normal lives, so we can all live normally. My biggest concern, my biggest thing would be if you’re sick, stay home, wash your hands. Take it seriously.”

“If the government tells you to do it, just do it,” he adds. “And let’s just lock arms as a community and get it done with, and we’ll be over this.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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