With coronavirus spreading, Mary Swander worried her Amish neighbors ‘wouldn’t know how bad it is.’ She couldn’t let that happen.
CLOSE Arizona Republic reporter John D’Anna shares specific actions you can take to ensure seniors and the elderly in your community are taken care of. USA TODAYDES MOINES – A conversation with one of her Amish neighbors left Mary Swander feeling uneasy.It was March 13, five days after Iowa announced its first coronavirus patient, and the man Swander was speaking with seemed unaware of the pandemic that was just then creeping into Iowa. The longer they spoke, the more her worry grew – for her friend and the other 1,200 Amish residents in Johnson and Washington counties.Swander decided to talk to a few more people at a store that caters to Amish customers. That confirmed her fears.“They had a vague inkling about it, but they were kind of making a joke out of it. And that’s what got me really concerned, because without TV, radio, internet, they wouldn’t know how bad it is,” Swander said.“They were kind of half taking me seriously and half-thinking I was alarmist. I could feel that tension.”The Amish started as a Christian sect that arose in Switzerland and Germany in the 16th century as part of a schism with the Catholic Church. They arrived in Kalona