Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic among the Amish of Northern Indiana

Victor E. Stoltzfus


Retired sociologist and college administrator Victor Stoltzfus reflects on a series of meetings in 2020 between leaders of the large Elkhart-LaGrange Amish settlement and state and local public health officials seeking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Multiple sources of information, some of questionable provenance, worked against the reception and application of public health directives, as did the decentralized polity of the Amish church. The authority of medical science is not absolute in Amish circles and the Amish relationship with government includes elements of both obedience and distrust. The generally positive reputation the Amish enjoy in the wider public may be at risk as some non-Amish neighbors are dismayed by half-hearted Amish efforts to slow the spread of the pandemic. Stoltzfus concludes by noting the inconsistent mitigation practices on the part of the surrounding non-Amish population in northern Indiana.


Amish; COVID-19; public health

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ISSN: 2689‐7458