FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims The Amish Have Remained ‘Covid Free’ During The Coronavirus Pandemic
A post shared on Facebook over 500 times claims Amish communities have remained “Covid free” through the coronavirus pandemic.
While exact numbers of how many Amish have contracted the disease do not appear to be available, media reports show that Amish communities have seen instances of COVID-19.
The post, dated Sept. 22, reads, “6 months later and the Amish are all still alive and Covid free. Their cure = No TV!” Some Facebook users pushed back on the claim in the comments, while others appeared to think it could be accurate.
While it’s unclear exactly how many Amish have contracted COVID-19, Steven Nolt, a senior scholar at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, told Check Your Fact that it is “absolutely not the case that the Amish have remained unaffected by COVID-19.” He noted in an email that “there have been COVID cases in many Amish communities and some deaths, though we don’t know how many because healthcare and public health officers collect information on race and gender, but not religion.”
“Nevertheless, letters in Amish publications make clear that COVID has been a reality in most Amish communities,” Nolt told Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Viral Post Falsely Claims Nobody Has Died At Home From COVID-19)
Media reports also show Amish have contracted COVID-19. For instance, the Indianapolis Star reported about Vonda Yoder, an Amish woman in Indiana, who tested positive for the virus and believes her family also contracted it. A spokesperson for the Indiana State Department of Health confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that it was aware of cases of COVID-19 in Amish communities.
Some experts believe certain Amish practices such as weddings and funerals played a role in the spread of the virus among the communities, according to Indianapolis Star.
“When they have a funeral, the entire church sits with the family all day long, sometimes for two days,” Lisa Orn, a family medicine doctor in Nappanee, an area with a large Amish population, told the Indianapolis Star. “So you can imagine a large group sitting together like that, yeah, things could spread.”
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has also seen COVID-19 spread among its Amish community. Dr. Stephen Diamantoni, the coroner for Lancaster County, told Lancaster Online in June that six members of the Old Order Amish had died from COVID-19.
An outbreak among the Amish community in Loudonville, Ohio occurred in May, according to Fox 8.