Jack Grodeska
Jack Grodeska

“Out Here in The Fields” is primarily the voice of our readers weighing in on a variety of topics.

We are living in a time of change and challenges.  From national politics, civil unrest and COVID 19, everywhere we turn today seems to bring about another challenge.  The news media often shows us statistics about the spread of the virus, and interviews experts, politicians, and celebrities, But, what about the rest of us?

Using Social Media, I asked the question: “How has the Pandemic affected you personally, and do you follow the medical guidelines?  (if not, why?)”  I was surprised by the responses that I received.  Given the national conversation regarding Masks Vs. No Masks, I fully expected a fair amount of anti-mask sentiment from our community.   Instead, the majority of the responses show that our community will do whatever it takes to protect one another against the virus.  Below are some of the responses from our neighbors.  I have deleted last names in general and full names upon request.


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Registered nurse here and it’s been quite the interesting times. Follow the medical guidelines???? Why, there is not a single study showing the effectiveness of cloth masks against any virus. Works against moisture spread yet never a mention as for how long. Your breath alone wets that mask enough to provide an awesome environment for multiplication of viral load. NIH showed they don’t work as many other studies carried out since 2000. I’ve watched those that have never been trained to wear them cross contaminate all the time. The first thing I was trained with in the hospital was how to properly don and adjust an N95 mask for respiratory isolation. Then how to properly wear a surgical mask in the operating room Please for the love of God reinforce hand washing and the use of sanitizer and wipes when leaving locations that aren’t cleaned regularly by yourself in your article.

(Anonymous #2)

Kyle,  I’ve been saying for months that the masks are a false sense of security.


(Anonymous)100%. There have been multiple studies to prove it. If there was an honest journalist, just need to contact the NIH and confirm the multiple studies done worldwide to prove they are useless. Just a feel-good measure.

(So, I was compelled to contact the National Institutes of Health.  What I learned was that, while there are indeed reports that date back to 2000 challenging mask use for a variety of illnesses, they were not focused on COVID 19.  The most current report on mask use in conjunction with the Pandemic is from this past August. 

NIH study August 2020:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32512240/

“The study suggests that community mask use by well people could be beneficial, particularly for COVID-19, where transmission may be pre-symptomatic. The studies of masks as source control also suggest a benefit and may be important during the COVID-19 pandemic in universal community face mask use as well as in health care settings. Trials in healthcare workers support the use of respirators continuously during a shift. This may prevent health worker infections and deaths from COVID-19, as aerosolization in the hospital setting has been documented.”)


lost wages, competing with NYC people for houses, watching local business close, being lied to by politicians, it’s not a pleasant place to be. Wear a mask and try to social distance as much as possible.

Jack Grodeska

Mos, thank you for helping out with this. It is horrible to see our local businesses close. Far too many. Tell me more about political lies…


Jack Grodeska The infection numbers don’t line up. There were so many NYC people flooding this area over the summer, but somehow, we now have double the infection rate?


In response to your call for how the pandemic has affected me, I offer the following:  I’m 58, divorced and my daughter moved out 4-5 years ago, so I am used to being by myself – I quite like it.  I often say that I live a self-indulgent lifestyle.  I do what I want when I want without conferring with other humans.  For work, I was only going to my office once a week, so having that cut to none was easy.  In fact, it made my Sunday afternoons much more pleasurable that I didn’t have to dread the 1-1/2 each way commute on Mondays and all the wardrobe and meal planning that went with it.  I do, however, miss my daughter.  I miss her hugs.  I’m fortunate enough that I still have my parents, and I miss them.  I miss breathing freely without a mask – especially at the gym.  I do follow the medical guidelines because I like to think I’m a responsible adult.  Sometimes not so much, but if I can save a life by putting a piece of cloth on my face, hey, why not? 

Anoymous #2

I haven’t had much of a change in my life with the pandemic other than not being able to go out to eat in a restaurant and having to wear a mask which does nothing.

I’ve been working the entire time and only know two people who contacted the virus.


The pandemic has affected me in the ways I socialize with friends and family. I have not gone to the movies, the theater, or to the restaurants we used to enjoy frequenting. My children, who are married, are very concerned with keeping us, (senior citizens) safe. The perfect example of this was when we went to our daughter’s house and because the kiddos had started school, the six-year-old looked at her mom and asked if she was allowed to hug us! The usual jumping into our arms and kissing us is no longer the norm. I know there are many people who are suffering much more than these little inconveniences we are experiencing, so I will not complain; I simply remind myself that this too will pass. And whether or not “masking up” works, I do not mind wearing it.


We just moved to AH in May, during this craziness. We are so excited to be here however, our engagement within the town has been limited due to COVID. We were looking forward to the movie theater, Playhouse, sitting at Gaslight bar, etc. We have been very cautious, following protocols. We know too much about the effects it can have once contracted.


Hi!! I’m fairly new to this town, but not unfamiliar.  I have been

on unemployment this whole time.  I have an underlined condition of asthma.  I see new and old business survive / comeback which makes my heart smile it’s great to live in a town where people smile and say hello to each other , I have great days and low days of what is to come ?? Will things get back to normal?? Or is crazy the new normal? Masks are the least we can do to help each other, as well as being loyal to our town’s businesses and helping local people with their small businesses!! I now take one day at a time. I blog in Health / Fitness, I am certified in both. Between, I pray.  I wish everyone well and keep a positive attitude


I do follow the guidelines. Hate it… but I do it. I miss my Atlantic Highlands walking group. I can’t do the 3.2 miles trail with a mask on.  Can’t do the gym with the mask either. Also, all my 2020 travel plans had to be canceled. Bummer. No NYC theater another bummer

In our time, there is no more middle ground.  We tend to lean hard into one direction or the other.  It is astounding that some people have politicized an illness.  In some places, we see a political distinction between those that wear a mask and those that fight wearing a mask.  Some say that masks don’t work, and there are many internet memes to support the idea that wearing a mask is giving “them” control.  Actual physical confrontations have occurred over whether the virus is deadly or not deadly.  But not here in our town on the Bay Shore.  It is clear from the responses that even though there are many inconveniences, most of us would rather sacrifice our recreation, and wear masks than spread the virus.   

In the end, we all need to realize that, regardless of our belief in the efficacy of wearing a mask,  if wearing a mask can reduce the spread of COVID 19 even by a small percentage, it is worth the inconvenience.  Like Anonymous said “…if I can save a life by putting a piece of cloth on my face, hey, why not?”


Next Weeks Questions:  There has never been a President that has stirred more controversy than President Donald Trump.  There is no middle ground, voters either love or despise him. Through a series of questions, we will try to understand why.  (Please note: This is not a political hit piece, but a real desire to understand the devotion or the lack there of, on the part of Local voters.)  To participate, click HERE.

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