During the height of COVID, the Amish communities of Lancaster County, PA largely rejected the mandates — they didn’t wear masks, barely locked down, and weren’t interested in the “vaccine”.

After a brief shut-down in 2020, Amish communities reopened, and before long, about 90% of the population came down with COVID. Calvin Lapp, an Amish-Mennonite community member, attributes the ultra-rapid infection rate to sharing of cups during communion at church: “The first time we went back to church, everybody got Coronavirus.”

By May of 2020 the virus had largely passed through the community and was on its way out.

Scholar on Amish and Mennonite culture Steven Nolt says that when it comes to statistics on the Amish people’s experience of COVID, exact numbers are hard to come by due to low testing rates. Nolt comments, “Even those who believed 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 tell me I’m sick.’”

Nolt explains that relatively few Amish went to hospitals even if they were quite ill. Instead, they preferred to be home where they could have visitors, as opposed to the isolation they would have faced in the hospital.

He also believes that an extremely low percentage of Amish opted to get the COVID vaccine.

Once the virus went through the Amish community, people returned to life as usual while the rest of the country struggled under the weight of lockdowns. Lapp reflects on his community’s unwillingness to bow to the mandates:

It’s a worse thing to quit working than die. To shut down and to say we can’t go to church, we can’t get together with family, we can’t see our own people in the hospital, we’ve got to quit working — it’s going completely against everything that we believe. You’re changing our culture completely to act like they wanted us to act last year. And we’re not going to do it.

In fact, 2020 was a standout year financially for the Amish community for the simple reason that they stayed open while everyone else shut down. Lapp declares with a smile, “We made more money in the last year than we ever did. It was our best year ever.”

By the spring of 2021, the Amish were reported to be the first community to achieve herd immunity. According to Steve Kirsch:

How did they achieve herd immunity so fast? They did the opposite of what the CDC recommended; they lived their lives normally and used drugs like ivermectin if they got sick.

To that, Lapp says, “We think we did the right thing.”