An Amish minister in Ohio is taking a shot at what some consider to be the “salvation” against COVID-19, specifically the vaccines, saying the coronavirus “left before salvation arrived.”
“Five years from now no one will bother trying to prove what I want to tell you now,” said Marvin Wengerd of the New Order Amish Church in Holmes County, Ohio.
“In five years an illusion will erase reality. People will believe something about 2020 and COVID-19 that won’t be true if no one speaks up now.”
Wengerd, who owns Carlisle Press, a small publisher of books and magazines, says the coronavirus arrived in his county in March 2020.
“The Amish community, 38,000 people strong, braced for its approach with narratives from ‘it’s political’ or ‘it’s really nothing to worry about’ to ‘it’s demonic.’ It hardly matters whether these narratives had a grain of truth or were completely false – COVID-19 came.
“We felt the sting of COVID along with the rest of the world. We felt the pain of increased deaths. The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions felt it most. Smaller funerals and weddings were a short-term cultural shift.”
Wengerd says the Amish community in Holmes County responded with a month of canceled church services “because our medical world thought us irresponsible to continue.”
“We wore masks where required in public places,” he explained. “We temporarily adjusted the size of our funerals and weddings as a nod to civil authority and medical experts. A few social events were canceled.
“But, for the most part, life among our 38,000 members quickly resumed normal. Thousands attended auctions. No masks in sight. No six feet between bodies. Business as usual. Our schools didn’t close. We avoided consigning our children to fear and alienation. Amish didn’t wear masks to church, social, and family gatherings or to work (except where required by non-Amish employers). Social closeness has been and remains a plain-people distinctive.”
“COVID came,” says Wengerd, the father of nine children. “When it did some of us left earlier than we expected. We had a few more funerals than usual. But then COVID left. COVID exited.
“Then the vaccine came. Trillions of dollars were thrown at their warp speed development and hasty distribution. Mankind was saved by a jab in the arm just in the nick of time. Or was it?
“Not the Amish community. COVID came, then COVID left. COVID exited, then the vaccine entered. Note the order here. Yes, COVID caused some to leave earlier than expected. Yes, it interrupted our social and spiritual lives for a month or so. But it left. It left before salvation arrived. It left the Amish community prior to the arrival of the vaccine.
“Even if the vaccine had arrived prior to COVID’s exit the vaccine would have failed its purpose for a very important reason: almost no Amish were or are vaccinated. Very few of the Amish population chose to vaccinate. Reasons for not vaccinating may vary but even if we had accepted the vaccination, COVID still left us prior to the vaccines’ arrival.
“When medical experts, anthropologists, sociologists, and government agencies look back on 2020 and the COVID pandemic they will do so with the sharpness of 20/20 hindsight. ‘COVID came,’ they will say, ‘then we mandated, masked, social distanced, and vaccinated it out of existence.’ And in their perfect hindsight they may miss a group of 38,000 people for which that was not true.
“They may miss it, that is, unless someone says something today. So I have.”
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Reuters published a so-called “fact check” about COVID’s impact on the Amish community, saying claims the Amish have not been unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic were false.
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Nov. 2020 examined an outbreak of the virus in a rural Amish community in Wayne County, Ohio, and found seven members tested positive for COVID in early May 2020. This prompted an additional 30 people to get tested, with 23, or 77%, returning positive results.
Dr. Kimberly Thompson, a global health expert and president of the risk and disease modeling organization Kid Risk Inc., told Reuters: “Everybody can be affected by the pandemic. The extent by which you are affected as an individual does depend on what is happening in your community and how much you are mixing but everybody is potentially infectable.”
“The difference in the United States is that some may not be vaccinated at the same rates as we are seeing in other communities and for that reason, they would remain vulnerable.”
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