by Joshua Rhett Miller
Some in Pennsylvania’s Amish country are downplaying the threat of coronavirus, claiming they “aren’t as spooked” as others around the country, according to reports.
Roughly 34,000 Amish families and several thousand Mennonites in rural Lancaster County are aware of the pandemic, but aren’t doing much out of the ordinary to ward off the potentially deadly bug, two Amish moms told the York Daily Record.
“We aren’t watching the news all day like everyone else, so I would say we aren’t as spooked by the coronavirus,” one woman identified only as Mrs. Stoltzfus told the newspaper. “Sure, I’ve been telling my children to wash their hands more with soap, but we’re not constantly being reminded of it. And I think we’re less likely to come into contact with it in our communities.”
Another Amish mother, Ruth Lapp, echoed that sentiment, saying “priming” of her children’s immune system as infants makes them less susceptible to contracting illnesses like the virus that has killed more than 9,100 people across the world.
“It’s important that your body fights on its own … most of the time it can fight its own things,” Lapp said. “And it’s not that we’re against doctors, but we try to take care of ourselves first. If we go to the hospital, we would probably be exposed to more germs.”
In their younger years, Lapp let her children frequently crawl on the floor and gave them doses of vinegar to stave off illnesses, she said.
“How should we be responding?” Lapp continued, adding that she’s putting her trust in God.
Just one of three Amish men interviewed by the outlet said his family was sanitizing as often as possible when asked about COVID-19.
To educate the communities, a pediatrician who has researched Amish and Mennonite families issued an alert distributed in churches across central Pennsylvania, the York Daily Record reports.
“As typical English people would, the Amish don’t run to the doctor right away when there is pain,” D. Holmes Morton, who operates a clinic in Belleville, told the newspaper. “They won’t be concerned about the coronavirus until someone is infected with it. It was the same with rubella, and polio and the measles. Once there’s an outbreak in their community, they get concerned.”
A hospital on Wednesday confirmed Lancaster County’s first case of coronavirus. Details on the patient, including age, hometown and condition were not provided, Lancaster Online reports.