An Amish community in Pennsylvania may have become the first group in the US to achieve herd immunity, a local health official claims.
The administrator of a medical center in the heart of Lancaster County’s New Holland Borough, which is known for its Amish and Mennonite communities, estimates that as many as 90 percent of the religious families have had at least one family member infected with the virus.
“So, you would think if COVID was as contagious as they say, it would go through like a tsunami; and it did,” said Allen Hoover, an administrator of the Parochial Medical Center, which caters to the religious community and has 33,000 patients.
The Amish and Mennonite groups initially complied with stay-at-home orders at the beginning of the pandemic — shuttering schoolhouses and canceling church services.
But by late April, they had resumed worship services, where they shared communion cups and holy kisses, a church greeting among believers.
Soon after, the virus tore throughout the religious enclave.
“It was bad here in the spring; one patient right after another,” said Pam Cooper, a physician’s assistant at the Parochial Medical Center.