‘Crazy’: MSNBC host stunned by Florida grocery store owner and his absurd anti-mask logic
MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle. (Screenshot)

MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle was flabbergasted by a Florida market owner who refuses to enforce mask orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Video recorded inside Oakes Farms Seed to Table Market in Naples showed dozens of shoppers and employees interacting as if the pandemic had never happened, after NBC News reporter Sam Brock stopped into the grocery for a sandwich.

"I didn't go in there looking for a story, I went in there looking for lunch," Brock told Ruhle. "When I got inside the supermarket, I got chills because there were dozens of people, if not hundreds, and most of them were not wearing masks. That's what the video shows."

Market owner Alfie Oakes, who has also sparked outrage by posting conspiracy theories about Black Lives Matter, is engaged in legal challenges to mask orders in Collier County, where the store is located, and he told Brock that he doesn't even believe in the deadly virus or measures necessary to prevent its spread.

"I know that the masks don't work and I know that the virus has not killed 400,000 people in this country -- that's total hogwash," Oakes said. "Why don't we shut the world down because of heart attacks? Why don't we shut -- why don't we lock down cities because of heart attacks?"

Video of that interview went viral, and prompted an astonished reaction from Ruhle.

"Stunning, Sam, thank you," she said. "I've got to get more answers. Let's bring in Dr. Celine Gounder. I've got to get your reaction to this crazy video from Florida and this store owner who says, 'Why don't we shut the world down over heart attacks?' You're a doctor -- have you ever had a patient, have you ever seen a patient breathe on a health care professional and kill them from a heart attack?"

The physician said a friend who lives nearby had already alerted her to the Oakes Farms market, saying health orders had not been enforced there for months, and she explained why the owner's logic was preposterous.

"Heart attacks are not an infectious disease spread by respiratory droplets and aerosols," Gounder said. "It's simply a completely different disease. We are seeing transmission, you asked about a patient breathing on a health care provider. Yeah, we're seeing that in the hospital right now. The hospital where I work, we've seen transmission, unfortunately, within the hospital, which may well relate to the rise, emergence of these new more infectious variants, where we really need to be very careful about not only masking but what kind of mask we're wearing."

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