COVID & The Amish

I’m sure, in time, it will devolve into a political food fight. This interview was very interesting. The line “not working is worse than dying” really struck home.

When it comes to actions taken to address the Covid-19 threat, hindsight is still very much underway. For your consideration: a story and outcome you probably aren’t hearing much about anywhere else. It takes place in the heart of Amish country.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: thousands of families lead lives largely separate from modern America.

The Amish are a Christian group that emphasizes the virtuous over the superficial. They don’t usually drive, use electricity, or have TVs. And during the Covid-19 outbreak, they became subjects in a massive social and medical experiment.

Sharyl: So, it’s safe to say there was a whole different approach here in this community when coronavirus broke out than many other places?

Calvin Lapp: Absolutely.

Calvin Lapp is Amish Mennonite.

Lapp: There’s three things the Amish don’t like. And that’s government— they won’t get involved in the government, they don’t like the public education system— they won’t send their children to education, and they also don’t like the health system. They rip us off. Those are three things that we feel like we’re fighting against all the time. Well, those three things are all part of what Covid is.

After a short shutdown last year, the Amish chose a unique path that led to Covid-19 tearing through at warp speed. It began with an important religious holiday in May.

Lapp: When they take communion, they dump their wine into a cup and they take turns to drink out of that cup. So, you go the whole way down the line, and everybody drinks out of that cup, if one person has coronavirus, the rest of church is going to get coronavirus. The first time they went back to church, everybody got coronavirus.

Lapp says they weren’t denying coronavirus, they were facing it head on.

Lapp: It’s a worse thing to quit working than dying. Working is more important than dying. But to shut down and say that we can’t go to church, we can’t get together with family, we can’t see our old people in the hospital, we got to quit working? It’s going completely against everything that we believe. You’re changing our culture completely to try to act like they wanted us to act the last year, and we’re not going to do it.

Steve Nolt is a scholar on Amish and Mennonite culture, and Mennonite himself. He’s studying Amish news publications to analyze community-wide trends.

Sharyl: So, are you saying, as of about May of 2020, things kind of went back to normal in the Amish community?

Steve Nolt: For the most part, yeah, by the middle of May, it’s sort of like back to a typical behavior again.

That also meant avoiding hospitals.

Nolt: I know of some cases in which Amish people refused to go to the hospital, even when they were very sick because if they went there, they wouldn’t be able to have visitors. And it was more important to be sick, even very sick at home and have the ability to have some people around you than to go to the hospital and be isolated.

Then, last March, remarkable news. The Lancaster County Amish were reported to be the first community to achieve “herd immunity,” meaning a large part of a population had been infected with Covid-19 and became immune.

Some outsiders are skeptical, and solid proof is hard to come by.

Nolt: Even those who believed that they had Covid tended not to get tested. Their approach tended to be, “I’m sick. I know I’m sick. I don’t have to have someone else telling me I’m sick.” Or a concern that if they got a positive test, they would then be asked to really dramatically limit what they were doing in a way that might be uncomfortable for them. So, we don’t have that testing number.

Lapp: We didn’t want the numbers to go up, because then they would shut things more. What’s the advantage of getting a test?

One thing’s clear: there’s no evidence of any more deaths among the Amish than in places that shut down tight— some claim there were fewer here. That’s without masking, staying at home, or another important measure.

Sharyl: Did most of the community, at least the adults, get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Nolt: Again, we don’t have data on that, but I think it’s pretty clear that in percentage terms, relatively few did.

Lapp: Oh, we’re glad all the English people got their Covid vaccines. That’s great. Because now we don’t have to wear a mask, we can do what we want. So good for you. Thank you. We appreciate it. Us? No, we’re not getting vaccines. Of course not. We all got the Covid, so why would you get a vaccine?

By staying open, the Amish here have one tangible 2020 accomplishment few others can claim.

Lapp: We have this joke: when everybody else started walking, we started running. We made more money in the last year than we ever did. It was our best year ever.

Did the Amish really find a magic formula? They say yes. And they don’t care who doubts it.

Lapp: Yeah, all the Amish know we got herd immunity. Of course we got herd immunity! The whole church gets coronavirus. We know we got coronavirus. We think we’re smarter than everybody. We shouldn’t be bragging, but we think we did the right thing.

Sharyl (on-camera): Nolt, the scholar, is publishing a paper on the Amish social response to government mandates and Covid-19.

Do you have an executive summary?

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Dude, you’re a fast reader

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This is interesting. Strangely I was thinking about The Amish yesterday.

Remember that Harrison Ford movie Witness? I don’t really know the Amish but assume what works for them would not work in any major city. What’s the latest on Switzerland and their herd immunity?

Oh wow, there are so many statements by the Amish guy that show the limits of
their closed educational system. “What good is a test ? “ …this isn’t even worth responding to.

We all got covid , so we are immune ???

Then, last March, remarkable news. The Lancaster County Amish were reported to be the first community to achieve “herd immunity,” meaning a large part of a population had been infected with Covid-19 and became immune.

If they they don’t test, how do they know what they had ?
How can they make that claim ? Who reported this ?

This is a waste of time responding to these types of folks.

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A September to remember.

These days making money is all the Amish really stood for. Christ, you can’t drive through Pennsylvania and northern Maryland without seeing an Amish store somewhere!

Chris, you were one of the first to get the vaccines.

Why would you post this? Why didn’t you just get infected and let come what may?

Also, no mention of any single death. That seems very fortuitous. But also pretty misleading.

The number of deaths in 2020 was 125% above normal. So lets say a given community usually has 1000 deaths per year, that increase would be 2250 deaths in the same time frame. That’s a lot of human life.

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I drank the punch.

To the best of my knowledge there haven’t been any reported shortages of Shoo Fly Pie. Horse and buggy prices are still at historically low levels. Plus there haven’t been any manpower shortages at recent barn raisings. Coach V is on to something.

I see I missed the point of your post.

Many folks, not only the Amish, have their whole identity and “soul” wrapped
up in their career or job or work. It defines them. “It” becomes what they are.
Some people upon retirement , feel lost , shutdown, and quickly die after working
their whole lives. For some folks that is all they are.

For me and my family, we’ve social distanced, wear masks in public, and trimmed back external contacts, but at same time used live video to stay in touch. It just hasn’t been that big of an an impact to me to deal with. Some windows close, new doors open. Now one family member feels “trapped”, and as one prone to anxiety attacks anyways, change is difficult. So I understand a little
about the other side.

Inflation is a biatch and we haven’t gotten to the worst of it. Nobody knew what would happen when economies were shut down. Now we know. Inflation and supply chains that are a mess.

Every time someone goes to the grocery store and they buy less, they get agitated. Every time someone pays their heating bill and it is more than last month they get agitated.

It is good for Houston, people are going to demand cheaper natural gas. More wells needed.

You didn’t really think we would go green did you?

I’m not sure what this has to do with OP article , but I’ll offer these observations on
your ramblings .

Stable prices, inflation, deflation. Stable prices are the goal. A little inflation is actually a
good thing and often the goal ! Deflation is the big evil.

Nobody knew what would happen when economies were shut down. Now we know. Inflation and supply chains that are a mess

True. To be honest, the “ 2 headed monster” has mostly been a B grade thriller for me to this point.
I completely understand MANY have a much different experience. Jobs lost, loss of rental income,
factories closing, parts shortages, etc. The global interdependence of supply chains due to the
pandemic will take a long time to unravel. 2-3 years ?

You didn’t really think we would go green did you?

And we are still going green; did you think that would stop ? Have you seen any green projects cancelled ? Rising sea levels will have even a bigger impact then COVID over time. Sure we see
energy shortages now, and I suspect short term, we will see some spike in fossil fuels as economies ramp up globally.

Europe is OK’ing a pipeline from Russia to Germany.

The price of energy is going through the roof. This is like the 70’s all over again.

At least Jimmy Carter rocked a cardigan.

Going green is like recycling. We will do some of it to feel good about ourselves, but it doesn’t make a dang bit of difference. Electric? ridiculous. The Chinese control the rare earth materials and the cost and environmental impact of creating the electricity is not green. Have you thought about what you will do with all of the batteries? Hydrogen? That has potential. That is what we should be throwing our efforts at. Using Nuclear to create hydrogen has potential.

When is the last time you saw a nuclear power plant go on line?

Inflation is a regressive tax.

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Let the food fight begin

Well yeah you knew this was coming. What I’m impressed with is 51 took a topic where a good fight was inevitable and took the fight in a completely different direction

I did not have green energy and climate change in this bingo card. Covid? Naturally. Vaccines? Sure usually those two go hand in hand. Religious Dogma? Getting out there, sure but still semi relevant. These two straight off the rails man

I just try to help. Inflation is not political, it impacts us all, green, blue, red equally. So I took a topic that was clearly going to Kyrie Irving and diverted it to something that we can all agree with. Lower grocery and energy bills are in everyone’s best interest.

Higher gas prices only help Houston. Bully for us but not so bueno for the rest of the country. How would you like to be in California with no water and higher energy prices. You are pretty much left with fires, homeless and surfing.

You are welcome and this is how to go non political on Coogfans.

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