I am one of the few people in the country who still uses a Blackberry. Last week, all of the sudden, AOL stopped working on my phone. After spending fruitless hours on the phone dealing with AOL, Blackberry, and my phone provider, it was clear I had to get a new phone.

Years ago, when I spent summers with my family at a bungalow colony, it used to bother me that there were breakaway minyanim even though there was a shul. Therefore, I can appreciate Rabbi Schonfeld’s frustration as he expressed in his column in last week’s paper (“Bamos: Still a Major Problem”). However, I believe he is mistaken in painting with a broad brush by claiming that outdoor minyanim exist because they are convenient and comfortable and not because of the COVID situation. As someone who davens both in shul and outside, there are many reasons why people daven outside. It is safer to daven outside. There is always airflow. Under most circumstances, under the new CDC guidelines, you can go without a mask. Contrast this with davening inside. The air is stagnant. Many times, no windows are open. If you want to open a window, especially if it is hot or cold outside, there is pushback. Also, there has been a decrease in people wearing masks in shuls either based on the shul policy or worshippers on their own deciding not to wear masks. This is not including those who do not wear the masks properly (covering both their mouth and nose).

The victory of President Joe Biden - first in the Democratic Primary and then in the Presidential Election - was an indication that the silent majority are the moderates. A moderate is generally considered left to center Democrat and center to right Republican. It was not only Biden’s victory that showed the importance of this group. The Democratic Party suffered losses in the House of Representatives due to the support of some who wanted to defund the police. You would think that both parties and the media would realize this. Instead, they continue preaching to the extremes.

Moshe Hill, who to the best of my knowledge is not an expert in epidemiology, makes the bold assertion (“Take Off The Masks,” QJL 3/18) that “there is no correlation between mask wearing and better results from COVID.” He does not cite any studies. His proof is comparing, as of today, the percentage of deaths from states with mask wearing mandates and those without any mandates. There are some obvious problems with this approach. He assumes that a mandate is the same as mask-wearing and the lack of a mandate means that people are not wearing masks.  He does not distinguish between the death rate before the states put in the mask mandate and the rate after they did.  Also, for Hill, death is the only barometer to determine better results. It is ironic, as it is coming from someone who had COVID last year and wrote about the horrible experience. There are many people who had COVID and are still suffering long-term effects. Thus, the number of cases, as well as deaths, is the correct factor to rely upon in determining the effectiveness and necessity of masks.