Hadassah University hospital in Jerusalem is running a pilot program in which recovered coronavirus patients volunteer to help those currently hospitalized with COVID-19, BBC reports.

The hospital's 30 or so recovered volunteers — who have all been tested to confirm they have antibodies for the virus and wear full protective gear (since it's still unclear how long immunity lasts) — aren't performing any medical tasks. Rather, they're there to lend an ear or sit and talk with patients who would otherwise be in isolation. Dr. Rely Alon, the director of nursing at Hadassah, told BBC that the volunteers are a "great help" for both patients and staff, even if their tasks sound simple.

That's because, while first and foremost COVID-19 is a deadly disease that may have lasting, harmful affects on the human body, scientists are also concerned about the potential long-term mental health issues that could arise for hospitalized patients. So, having a friendly face around could be quite important for those suffering from the virus. Watch the BBC's full report here.

This story was first published on The Week on 6 September 2020. Click here to read the original.