Neighbors hold porch concert to entertain woman self-isolating due to coronavirus


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Helena Schlam, 78, is self-isolating in her Ohio home to try to avoid the novel coronavirus.

“Well, it feels scary and I’m trying to be reasonable and I’m staying at home,” she said.

As more and more of our normal lives get upended by the pandemic, Schlam said she will miss going to concerts and movies, lunches with friends, book club meetings and her exercise classes.

Rebecca Tien lives across the street from Helena. 

“She’s just been on my mind this week,” Tien says. She called to check on her.

“My call yesterday from Rebecca was the best thing that happened all day,” Helena said.

Tien offered to have her children, 9-year-old Taran and 6-year-old Calliope, play their cellos for Helena.

“I was looking at Helena’s long porch and I figured she could sit on one side and we could sit on the other and still be together,” Tien said.

Health experts caution that the fear and anxiety over the spread of the virus combined with isolation can lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression.

“We’re all social people,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert at OhioHealth. “We need social interaction and when we don’t see people face to face and we do it in a more sterile environment, that can lead to depression.”

“Bravo! Bravo!,” cheered Helena as the two budding musicians finished their front porch performance.

“We had a great time too,” said Rebecca Tien. “It helps us fill our day so it’s mutually beneficial, for sure.”

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