Holmes County Officials: Coronavirus Increase Not Due To Tourism

amish family holmes ohio

Of course, coronavirus cases are increasing in some places. There is zero surprise in that, despite the way some headlines might be written to suggest otherwise. And in Holmes County, which thrives on Amish-themed tourism, cases have increased since “reopening” as well. Local officials are not pinning this on the return of tourism, however. From the New Philadelphia Times Reporter:

The numbers say one thing. Holmes County officials are saying another.

The Ohio Department of Health reports 197 confirmed coronavirus cases in Holmes County as of Monday — up from 32 in early June. State Department of Health data shows three deaths and nine hospitalizations from COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon.

The uptick in Holmes County began in early May, as the state began to reopen and more tourists made their way to Amish Country.

However, county officials believe the increase may be due to more people being tested for coronavirus, not the increasing number of people coming into the area.

“I don’t know if they’ve proven anybody has brought (the virus) in,” Holmes County Commissioner Rob Ault said. “There is a spike all over the country. It could be due to more testing.”

Holmes County Health Commissioner Michael Derr said the county is experiencing community spread of the coronavirus, something that’s hard to pinpoint.

Let me just pause to call out this reporter’s opening line. The numbers don’t “say one thing” and officials say another. The numbers this writer offers simply register an increase in cases. The officials are not saying that’s not true. They’re talking about causes.

The writer is assuming the increase is due to tourism. More accurate would be for him to say “I, the author of this article, say one thing. Officials say another.” But instead he says it’s “the numbers” saying it, as if to suggest the officials offering their own explanation as to the cause of the numbers means they are arguing against the data itself.

ohio holmes county buggy sign

Watch for buggies. And also stealth editorializing

But the numbers are just the numbers. They don’t contain a reason within them, at least not the ones this writer offers.

Yet this writer is suggesting that the cause is obvious. Clearly it’s tourism that’s to blame. How does he know? Because the numbers went up! And tourists came back at the same time! So one fully explains the other, there cannot be any other reason.

The spread of infectious disease is influenced by a range of factors. And then if you’re talking about the activity of counting positive cases – a separate thing from the actual spread of the disease – that incorporates even more factors (testing rate and reliability being two).

mt hope auction buggies ohio

Everyone is assigning explanations for increases in positive cases  – including media workers like editors and reporters.

And as we continue reading the article, we have the officials offering their own explanation, an alternative to the “tourism is to blame” angle.

Of course, tourism could be a factor. I would be surprised if it wasn’t, at least to a degree. But without direct proof of how much one or another cause is affecting things, it is up to the reader to discern what he or she believes.

Why are coronavirus cases increasing in Holmes County? 

Health Commissioner Derr, I think wisely, says that it is difficult to pinpoint community spread. But he does suggest his own take, offering two causes – the expected increased interaction between people, and more testing:

“Part of the reason we’re seeing an increase is twofold,” Derr said. “No. 1 is we’re moving around a lot more, and that is because everything is opening back up. We know by movement people are going to create more opportunities for infection through exposure. People are getting back to the gyms, going to get their hair cut, going out to eat; there are a lot of different things happening where they are exposing themselves more.

“The second part of it is we’re testing a lot more in the state, and we’ve also tested a lot more locally,” Derr continued. “The hard part is we can’t get super accurate numbers on how many tests we’ve performed because we’re seeing a lot of people going to a wide variety of places to get tested. We’re only made aware of positive tests.”

Holmes County Commissioner Rob Ault disputes that increased cases is directly linked to tourists bringing it in:

“I don’t know if they’ve proven anybody has brought (the virus) in,” Holmes County Commissioner Rob Ault said. “There is a spike all over the country. It could be due to more testing.”

Commissioner Joe Miller suggests something similar:

Miller doesn’t see the increase in positive tests as a bad sign.

“I talked with a lot of people and the cases are very mild,” Miller said. “I think there’s more people being tested, and that’s why our numbers are higher.”

Officials are of course advising all the common-sense precautions to prevent spread, which I’ll refrain from repeating here since we’ve all heard them 500 times by now.

holmes ohio amish farm

People eager to visit

Connected to the easily-predictable increases in coronavirus cases, is another easily-predictable thing – the growing noise to shut down economies again. Kent Miller, who is involved in the area hotel business, says that can’t happen:

“With the amount of people coming into our area, I was fully prepared to see more cases but I don’t think the numbers are concerning, especially since there are no runs on the hospitals,” he said, “and we can’t shut the economy down again.”

Miller noted that his business, like many others in the area, relies on tourism.

“Our area is very fortunate to see a nice bump in leisure travelers, overnight and day-trippers that are coming to Holmes County,” Miller said. “Not all tourism areas in our country are seeing an uptick.”

Commissioner Miller was surprised how quickly tourists returned:

“I am amazed at how fast the people came back to town,” Miller said. “I thought older people might stay away, but there are older people, younger people, all kinds of people.

Boyd Wurthmann Restaurant Berlin Ohio

Why would other areas not be experiencing the tourism uptick, according to Kent Miller, and Holmes County is? Could it be that the typical visitor to Amish country is less likely to be swayed into staying at home?

Every activity has its own risk (even “non-activity”). In any case, people at this point are generally quite aware of the degree of risk this virus presents, and weighing that against other factors, are choosing to return to more active and engaged lives, which includes visiting Amish communities.

Public health suffers from shutdown too

Officials present themselves and the county as taking a responsible approach to the matter. Derr says businesses are doing well adhering to the Responsible Restart Ohio guidelines.

They are offering extra sanitizer stations, more increased cleaning, reduced seating, and so on. And in further defense of the county, Health Commissioner Derr points to their high public health rankings:

Derr added that last year, Holmes County ranked No. 2 in county health rankings in the state public health assessment.

“We know how to take care of our own community. We do it on a shoestring budget as one of the poorest funded public health departments in the state, yet we’re one of the healthiest communities. We know how to take care of our community with our limited resources.”

Finally, he adds that shutdown has its own perils:

“There are a lot of secondary effects,” he continued. “Public health encounters so many different factors, and so many different things account for how healthy we are. Mass isolation and shutdowns is as poor on public health as the virus is. We’re here to work with our community and make sure we’re as healthy as possible.”

These are all non-Amish business and government officials speaking. These voices quoted in this piece all have an interest, of course, in keeping tourists visiting the county.

buggy rides amish

But that doesn’t mean their claims aren’t true. Their explanations are certainly worth considering.

It’s good, to some degree, to know “the numbers”. But the numbers, just by virtue of their increase, don’t provide any ironclad argument as to the cause of the increase. That requires further analysis.

The most important point here is that there is of course risk from coronavirus. But it’s just one of many, many, many risks of living. The vast majority of those risks we don’t consciously think about every day, because they are not large enough to matter, or because we have adapted our behaviors to account for them. People will adapt to coronavirus, as they do to other risks, provided they have a more-or-less clear understanding, and if given the chance to do so.

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    39 Comments

    1. Stan Dale Milligan

      Virus

      Used to travel from Texas to My. Hope Ohio every week. Hope all my friends there are ok.

    2. Stephen

      Individuals should decide

      People should weigh the risks for themselve. If someone is worried about catching a coronvirus, they should take precautions for themselves. It’s rediculious to restrict the free movement of other people just because someone is worried about catching it. Corona viruses have existed forever. And they probably always will.
      The common cold is a Corona virus. No vaccine can be made for them because of way they constantly mutate. The people who are out and about have chosen to accept the risks.

      1. COVID-19 in Holmes COunty

        Comparing the cold virus to the COVID-19 virus as if they were both mere viruses, is ridiculous! The cold doesn’t kill people; COVID-19 does! The corona virus is responsible for only about 20% of colds.To say that if people are worried about catching COVID-19, THEY should take precautions while the rest just go on their merry way, is selfish and based on a misunderstanding of COVID-19. Everyone must be responsible and take precautions to not spread this virus. Healthy people DO catch it; not just the elderly or those with preexisting conditions. If you’ll watch news being broadcast by stations that present news based on facts, not political agenda, i.e. OAN, Newsmax, FOX Entertainment, you would know that the virus is spreading like wildfire in several states, since they reopened. It isn’t because there is more testing, it is because people are not respecting regulations regarding masks and social distancing. Many young people are catching it and spreading it around. It is true that most young people who catch the virus get over it, but, some do not. There is new research showing that the virus affects our body and brain long after it is out of our system. The media is “bashing us with doom and gloom” because, too many people are ignoring safety regulations and guidelines and continuing the spread of the disease. More testing doesn’t cause the number of COVID-19 cases to go up; it just proves that the number of cases is rising. No testing doesn’t cause the numbers to drop; it simply means fewer people are being tested. It is mainly the selfish and irresponsible people spreading the disease. Because of people with your mentality, I have to spend the next few years, or until a vaccine is discovered, either staying home, or wearing a mask and washing my hands all day long? By the way, even healthy people catch this virus. You’d better pray you won’t be one of them!

        1. Pat Monti

          Covid 19 in Holmes County

          Janice Reamer, IMO EXTREMELY well stated! Amen! Amen! and another Amen!!!

          It’s so simple: wear masks, social distance, wash your hands… If everyone or even more would do this, I sincerely believe things could get “normal” much sooner or at least far closer to it.

          If people don’t care about themselves, they need to think of others. There are many stories of those that were infected; including with no symptoms, and didn’t follow the guidelines for whatever reasons and ultimately infected others. As a result, many became very ill; and several died. Sometimes it’s even been a friend or family member.

          I just can’t wrap my mind around how anyone would choose to do that! And, yes it IS a choice!

        2. Geo

          Well said

          Thanks! Me too!

        3. Sandra K

          Ditto — AMEN!

          The thought that increased testing produces increased levels of COVID-19 is nonsensical and illogical! That would mean you’ll only be pregnant if you test for it!

          CV-19 spreads from person to person. A person infected with the virus can have no symptoms, yet spread the virus until 2 DAYS AFTER symptoms start. Since symptoms don’t show up for 2 to 5 days of being infected, a person with the virus can unknowingly spread it to other people for 4 to 7 days after being infected but until s/he has symptoms. That could be a LOT of people exposed!

          It’s a myth to think the virus is just more prevalent because there is more testing — we are just more aware about how far and deep it has spread within the greater community.

          So, what to do? Keep close to home as much as possible — EVERYONE! When you need to go out, wear a mask. Keep track of where you’re going and who you’re seeing, especially if you decide not to wear a mask around the person/people you’re seeing. If you must go to work, wear a mask, wash your hands before you remove your mask. Wash hands after you get home after shopping or being out. If you’re coming home from work, remove your clothes when getting home and wash hands. Be aware. This is so you know who you could get the virus from — and, if you find out you have it, you’ll know who to warn.

          It’s isolating and for those of us who live alone, it can be lonely. We all need to think of the other in this situation.

          Shalom!

        4. Athanasia

          Covid19 in Holmes Cty

          You did a good job there Janet. Very well said

    3. D Johnson

      Masks

      Does anyone from Holmes county own a mask? I saw little if any mention of masks in this article. If you go to the stores in Berlin you can probably count the masks being worn on your two hands. The locals don’t seem to care that they could be spreading this virus. A young Amish woman checking me out at the cash register at the local hardware store with her mask below her nose told me she “wasn’t worried “ about catching Covid-19. I asked her if she was worried about me catching it? No answer.

      We had all better start caring and wearing a mask or we will never be rid of this nightmare.

      1. Stephen

        The nightmare was caused by the government

        The nightmare has been the way government officials have handled this whole thing. Businesses have gone bankrupt, suicide rate has skyrocketed, people loosing their homes and businesses. And the media constantly blasting us with doom and gloom. Most people are not worried about covid19, because most people don’t get any serious affects from it. It’s those who are elderly or have pre existing medical issues that puts them at risk. Those people need to worry, not those of us who are healthy. But if you’re afraid, wear a mask, wash your hands, or stay home.

        1. Geo

          HERE'S YOUR SIGN!"

          “But if you’re afraid, wear a mask, wash your hands, or stay home”. The most mean spirited narrow minded politically driven post I’ve read on this site. I guess that means wear a mask if YOU are afraid for YOURSELF. Responsible people care about OTHERS too. I am elderly, I DO wear a mask and I CAN’T stay home as you order.
          I’d like to hand you a sign to wear like the comedian Bill Engvall talks about in his act. He hands them out to people who demonstrate extreme stupidity. “HERE’S YOUR SIGN”. Being in public without a mask shows you need a “STUPID” sign, you know, to warn people. I want to hand out “STUPID” signs but I can’t risk it. Such folks are probably dangerous other ways too.
          Just sayin.

          1. Stephen

            If your paranoid

            Bullying people and calling them stupid because they don’t follow your opinion is childish. If you’re worried about dying, you need to get right with God. Don’t push your liberal paranoia on the rest of us!

            1. Geo

              bullying

              You started it! (HERE”S YOURS SIGN)

            2. Geo

              extremism

              If you’re NOT worried about dying that’s up to you but don’t try imposing your political/religious reckless Trumpist extremism on people who are not religious fanatics, not politcial fanatics, and not extremist.

              If that is you again, Vladymir,or Boris, or whatever, sowing anger and division from your comfortable office near the Kremiln, I’m sorry I got baited again and wasted time responding to your hate. Nothing personal. I know propaganda is just a job to you.

            3. Georgianne

              Last I looked...

              Last I looked the presidency was part of the government, which you just stated mishandled the whole thing and caused a nightmare. I’m glad you cleared that up for me. Just saying. Meanwhile, please note that some very prominent very non-liberal folks have taken to wearing masks, finally acknowledging that it is not a political issue but a health issue and common sense. Both Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in recent days have urged Americans to wear one when they are unable to maintain social distance. It’s really time to stop making a health crisis about politics and start caring about each other as fellow humans.

              https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/01/us/coronavirus-masks.html
              https://www.marketwatch.com/story/coronavirus-update-us-case-tally-climbs-above-26-million-and-republican-leaders-urge-americans-to-wear-face-masks-2020-07-01

              1. Geo

                Ditto

                Thanks Georgianne. You said it well. I got baited. That guy is a troll. I should know better. All the indicators are there. Politics, religion, cruelty, all aimed at sowing dissension. Their strategy is obscure but it’s about divide and conquer. They did it in 2016 and they are doing it now, in America and other countries where Putin wants influence. They always disappear from a site if you accuse them of being Russian trolls.
                It’s only fair to respond in kind with inflammatory hyperbole.
                That being so, how about this?
                Its’ common gossip around Moscow that Vladimir Putin likes to unwind after a hard day by prancing around the Kremlin in lacy women’s clothing and a long curly blonde wig. And he can’t sleep without his inflatable life-size Trump mannequin. Is it true? Who can say? Not that there’s anything wrong with it of course.

                1. Georgianne

                  OMG

                  Geo — Well, that won’t be an image I can soon forget!

                2. COVID-19 in Holmes COunty

                  Geo, I enjoy your comments. Especially the one on spelling! I don’t know if Stephen is a Russian troll, or one of the many willfully ignorant Trumpians, who refuse to believe that COVID-19 was neither a hoax by the Dems/liberals to oust Trump, nor a plan by the Chinese to derail Trump’s presidency. Trump has done that on his own with his divisive rhetoric, continuous lying, and astounding ineptitude throughout his “presidency”. As for those who support him no matter what, there is the saying: “None is so blind as he who will not see.” Or, as I say, “None is so ignorant as he/she who will not learn!”

        2. Sandra K

          Sorry to burst your bubble, but...

          “Young people won’t have much reaction to COVID-19”… Well, the virus is slowly mutating. It now IS having more effect on younger people (under 50). Children do not have as high a rate of infection — however, it must be noted, that without testing we don’t know that for sure: they may be asymptomatic and be super spreaders. Nonetheless, there ARE children who suffer greatly from the virus and even die. There are people in their teens, and 20s, and 30s, and 40s who have died from CV-19.

          This weekend, we will have more than 130,000 people who have died from this virus. In 6 months. They are not all over the age of 65! Even if 60% of those deaths are those from the elderly group, that still leaves 52,000 people under 65 who will have died!

          So, don’t take it all so lightly. You may not come down with the virus — but maybe you do, and during the time you don’t show symptoms or have only mild symptoms, you could infect your mother or grandmother or some other person you care about. If you don’t, maybe another person who decided it wasn’t import to wear a mask does it.

          The point is — you wear a mask (correctly) because you care about other people. It’s up to all of us to get a lid on the spread of this virus, so we have a hope of eventually being “normal.” (Whatever THAT is anymore!)

          1. Georgianne

            Covid-19 & Testing

            The CDC’s most recent data showed that 70% of the people testing positive now are under 60. The median age is now 48 — which means there are a lot of young people testing positive to average out all those older people. Another reason it appeared that a lot of older people were catching Covid-19 and dying from it initially is that at the beginning of the outbreak only the sickest people were getting tested. Here in New York, you had to be really really sick to get tested back then. And the sickest people were the elderly so, yeah, they were over-represented at the beginning. If you do some googling, you’ll find that the data was skewed toward the oldest ages and those with underlying health issues because of the availability of tests. Tests are more widely available now, so it better reflects who gets sick. The elderly and those with underlying problems are still the most likely to die, but there are way too many people who died who were not elderly nor had health issues. Being young is not a guarantee that you can survive catching this virus. Sandra is absolutely correct–don’t take it lightly, wear a mask, social distance, and remember that even if you think you’re young and healthy and invincible you can still spread the disease to a friend or family member that may not be able to fight it off.

        3. David B

          learn to spell

          effects, not affects. you’re, not your. Get an education before writing.

    4. Geo

      edication

      This aint no speling test so dont grade us. HL Mencken said language is about communication so if you got the message, spellen dont make no dang diferns. Node I mean? Yep?

      1. David B

        ignorance

        The spelling errors were from Stephen, not you, Geo. You accused him of Trumpism. You should be able to connect the dots between his ignorance and his Trumpism.

        1. Geo

          LOL

          I LOL at myself. I be shameless. “Stephen” (my best guess) makes mistakes because English is not the first language. His/her English is so good I missed it was a troll. They tend to use bad grammar and spelling. That said, if this was about literacy I’d use a dictionary, thesaurus and spelchek. It’s about sharing ideas. Capiche?

    5. I am okay with catching this virus. I am not afraid. I do understand there is a small risk for me of death/bad effects. But I can examine the information available and determine that the risk is low.

      It’s been well-documented that this is primarily a danger to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions (yes, there are exceptions, but rationally you make decisions on generalities, not rare exceptions).

      I am 41 and in good health with no underlying conditions. I actually expect to catch it at some point, if I haven’t already had it.

      In fact, I would almost like to catch it, and then get tested for antibodies to confirm I’m not a threat to spread it, so I could then go visit my grandmother again.

      She is 93 years old and has not seen anyone in her family for about 4 months now, and is isolated in a small apartment. That’s not healthy for her, and she is now more vulnerable to other adverse consequences due to lack of exercise and human contact. I speak to her on the phone. It’s not good. There are many others like her.

      We should each make the right decisions based on our own situations. That might mean wearing a mask or limiting certain activities, staying home more if you’re in a risk category. From the beginning the focus should have been more on protecting the most at-risk populations – and we knew who they were pretty early on. A lot of people in power made a lot of dumb decisions (and continue making them).

      Society has to function. A vaccine might be a year away, five years away, or never come. There is such a thing as herd immunity. Those who continue to be up in arms over the virus as if it is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced seem to be ignoring all the adverse – and widespread – effects the shutdowns are having, to focus on the more exceptional and rare cases/bad stories, which you’ll always be able to find. Not wise.

      1. Geo

        side benefit

        An old seafaring axiom says it’s an ill wind that blows no good for any sailor. A wind that blows one toward home blows another away. News this AM reports cases of the old fashioned regular boring flu are now less frequent than usual supposedly due to precautions taken against novel coronavirus. Personally, if I were younger, (I’m over 80) I’d still skip my turn with this bug, thanks. I had Spanish flu back in the day and it’s a bad memory.

        1. Yea, I think something like this makes us take a look at everyday life and all the many risks we have already internalized and accepted and just deal with everyday without a conscious thought.

          For example, you mentioned flu, but I don’t ever remember any talk of lockdown due to the flu and pneumonia, just to name two contagious diseases which together claim 50-100,000 lives annually. But why don’t we just extend the current lockdown logic to those? That’s tens of thousands of lives that could be saved.

          We could also ban automobiles while we’re at it, and save 35-40,000 annual vehicle deaths. Of course that would probably create some other risk that we’re not even thinking of, as people adjusted their behavior accordingly.

          And that’s how this goes. Risk evaluation and tradeoffs are an inescapable fact of life. We accept a reasonable amount of risk to live lives where we have freedom, mobility, access to economic opportunities and the chance to better our lives, and do all the other things that make life worth living.

          But I believe we (generally) do that evaluation best on an individual level once we have acquired reasonably reliable information to base our decisions upon. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

          By the way, I thought Spanish flu happened back in 1918-1920. Were there other later outbreaks of the same or similar strain? You say you are over 80, but I’m guessing that means you were not around for the original version 🙂

      2. Wanting to catch COVID-19

        Wanting to catch the virus in order to get it over with is not like catching the measles to get it over with was, in the old days. There’s no guarantee that, should you catch the virus, it will be a mild case. There are many stories of young people getting it and not surviving, and many stories of people surviving it after having had a terrible time of it. You shouldn’t disregard the after-effects of the virus on the body and brain. Yes, the economy is doing poorly at the moment, but, how will it do if a second round takes hold of the whole country? Very sick people cannot run a business nor can very sick people work. What happens to the economy then? Just because people in power did a bad job dealing with this virus in the beginning, doesn’t mean we can risk being foolish and do a bad job of dealing with it now!

        1. Ok, thanks. Each person is free to hunker down to whatever degree they like. We know much more now than 4 months ago. I’m going to act accordingly using precautions I feel are appropriate. Your behavior might be different. Viva freedom.

          I don’t think your picture of an economy crippled due to vast numbers of very sick working-age people is at all realistic. The CDC now says as many as 20 million Americans have already had it, 10 times more than was thought. Many did not even know it. That means the actual death rate is much lower than believed.

          What would be good is to make sure the ones that get it, are not the high-risk people. Most low-risk-demographic people have mild or no symptoms. If you’re high-risk, take appropriate measures.

          I think the risk evaluation you are putting on this is skewed way too far towards the side of COVID. Maybe you haven’t really considered, or are just ignoring the risk and ill effects on people’s lives (not just in the US) that come with lockdown. A few links below.

          https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/as-many-as-20-million-in-u-s-have-had-covid-19-officials-say-10-times-more-than-previously-thought

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hunger-could-be-more-deadly-than-coronavirus-in-poorer-countries/2020/05/14/32fd3f9a-8bd3-11ea-80df-d24b35a568ae_story.html

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/yuwahedrickwong/2020/04/28/the-great-lockdown-is-saving-lives-while-increasing-poverty-and-hunger-globally/#1ea84075379c

          “For example, citing research conducted by the Australian National University and Kings College, London, Oxfam is warning that global poverty is rising for the first time in 30 years. It has estimated that between 400 to 600 million people will be pushed into poverty in developing countries as a result of the great lockdown. Over one-third of these new poor will be in some of the least developed countries in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Because of rising poverty, the UN World Food Program has warned that the number of people suffering from acute hunger could easily double this year.”

          1. COVID-19 in Holmes COunty

            Erik, I appreciate your statistics. You will do what you will do!

      3. Georgianne

        Talking points

        41 and in good health, you say… One of the stories I’ve been following for months has been the battle Nick Cordero, a Broadway actor, fought against the coronavirus. I never follow celebrities or pay much attention to them, but his wife was posting regularly and in the midst of the pandemic and lockdown I started rooting for the guy to get better. After 3 months, he finally died two days ago. He was 41 — he was your age — only married three years and had an infant child. He had his leg amputated, had a pacemaker put in, and probably faced a double lung transplant had he lived. All from Covid-19. So age and health are no guarantees. This article was published two days before he died, but it shows all the many things that this guy went through in his fight against the disease. https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/entertainment/nick-cordero-coronavirus/index.html

        You have to hope you don’t get sick that bad, nor pass it to someone who does. Pretty nasty.

        Wearing a mask has been shown to stop the spread of this virus by quite a lot. It doesn’t hamper your movements or infringe on your rights really. It’s not much worse than having to wear glasses. Buy a few styles and wear the mask like a fashion accessory. All your talking points are aimed at the lockdown and the adverse effects of a lockdown. What you don’t seem to address is wearing a mask in public. You want to move about and not be in constant lockdown? Well, then, wear a mask. Pretty simple solution. Doctors and scientists are pretty much beating people over the head and saying wear one to help stop the spread.

        As for your grandmother — well, my mom is 92 and still lives alone in her house. She has macular degeneration and had knee replacements. But she’s feisty and has a better memory than I do. She cooks and cleans and does laundry herself with no help. She also probably had a better support system than we did over here during this pandemic. She has the girl scouts and boy scouts dropping off supplies, her senior group bringing things by, the town she lives in has a dept. to check up on seniors, her church group shops for her, and several local restaurants have been making free meals for seniors and dropping them around. She barely had to cook for herself the entire lockdown. She told me she had more food than she could eat. Everything is dropped on her doorstep. She stands on her front porch and people stand on her lawn and visit her. I’m a bit too far to go visit at the moment, but I call her every day. If you’re worried about your grandmother and can’t go visit her yourself (wearing a mask!), then you should have checked on local groups who have been visiting seniors and helping them out.

        Anyway, your talking points are very Republican re the whole risk evaluation and tradeoffs. I’m not saying that a lot of that doesn’t concern me. And if I haven’t already had Covid I’ll more than likely catch it at some point. Pretty inevitable. There are no easy answers here. Do what you can to mitigate all the things you think are bad about the lockdown — go volunteer at a soup kitchen or visit the elderly yourself. Donate money to charity. But, still, wear a mask. It’s such a simple solution.

        1. So rather than really address them, my arguments are called the pejorative “talking points”, and attached to a political party. That’s the gist of the response to them. A sure sign they were good points;) 

          Nick Cordero’s story is awful, sad and tragic. Looks like he was one of the more exceptional ones – no underlying conditions, which has usually been the case with younger people (under 50) dying. Had the bad fortune to develop sepsis while in hospital, and ultimately passed from “coronavirus complications”. I read the last instagram post from his wife – really moving. Terrible story. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53306462

          The points about exceptions vs. generalities, and risk evaluation and trade-offs as (non-political) realities of life, remain valid despite the tragedy of Cordero’s death.

          I am fine with masks (assuming we’re realistic about their use) and do wear them myself. They are one aspect of the bigger picture. Kudos for the good ideas on how we can do some nice things to help others. Last but not least I am sympathetic to what Al in KY shared, though I acknowledge not every topic is going to fit in those parameters (though I believe most do).

        2. COVID-19 in Holmes COunty

          Georgianne, I agree with you. Health and safety have been turned into a political bouncy ball by right-wingers and their hollering about constitutional and religious rights. Ironically, those who holler the loudest about constitutional and religious rights, are not interested in affording those same rights to those who disagree with them. How long did they holler about constitutional rights when seat belts became mandatory in every state? Did they holler when smoking in restaurants, bars, schools, hospitals, etc. became illegal? They did, but, the threat of heavy fines soon shut them up. Our state is spiking again, thanks to all the partying, eating in restaurants, bars, and refusal to do any social distancing. Then those affected have the unmitigated gall to blame our governor for the closing of businesses and loss of jobs. I worry about going to work every day! Very few customers wear a mask or “social distance”. They are the people who, out of pure selfishness, or willful ignorance, will keep this virus going for many, many months. They keep comparing it to the flu, which it is not. As I’ve said before, none is so ignorant as he/she who will not learn.

    6. Al in Ky

      I appreciate all I’ve learned through the years from Amish America posts, including how contemporary issues affect Amish life and faith. I am concerned when posts on specific topics veer away from that focus.

    7. Stephanie Berkey

      Erik, I appreciate you sharing your perspective on these challenges. I’d guess most Amish & Mennonites have views closer to yours than those who are being harsh. It can be very scary especially for us who are more at risk. I think it’s good to try to appreciate that, but many of us are very emotional and need to try to calm down and feel God’s love and reassurance. He has conquered all things and can help us to do so, through all challenges.

      1. God reassures us

        I wonder how God feels about those who willingly flaunt safety guidelines and infect others?

        1. Stephanie Berkey

          Why don’t you ask Him, Janice? It might help to study it out fully, looking at all sides of the issue. Hopes this helps:

          Discovering Truth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXiGaV8tY5M

          Discerning Truth vs Lies http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.liar.html

    8. Truth

      Thank you, Ms. Berkey, but, I am not interested in someone else’s “truth”.

    9. Stephanie Berkey

      You said you were interested in God’s perspective. That requires considering other sides the issue.

      Here is an interesting perspective, for those who are interested:
      Dr. Rashid A. Butters Interview with Patrick Bet David on youtube and http://www.askdrbuttar.com/VT/

      1. COVID-19 in Holmes COunty

        Ms. Berkey, No, actually, it does not. It was a rhetorical question because I know that there are myriad answers based on myriad interpretations of the Bible. Most fundamentalists, regardless of denomination, will claim that THEIR truth is THE truth and that everyone else’s truth is wrong.