A video showing unmasked shoppers in a Florida supermarket has gone viral due to an NBC reporter’s complaining. Among the more extreme reactions was one now-deleted tweet by a doctor who seemingly thought they deserved to die.
In a video shared on Wednesday, NBC correspondent Sam Brock showed a crowd of customers in a supermarket in Naples, Florida. Few people were wearing a face mask or practicing social distancing, and everyone was going about their business as usual. Complaining about the spread of Covid-19 on a “massive scale,” Brock claimed that the store allowed “medical exemptions” to mask wearing, and that his team couldn’t “ask questions.”
As #Flordia fights community spread of COVID on a massive scale, this is a 15-second snapshot of a supermarket in Naples. Many employees and customers- even older ones- with no masks on inside. Store sign outside cites “medical exemptions,” we can’t ask questions. @NBCNewspic.twitter.com/rNUSOPLjeB
— Sam Brock (@SamBrockNBC) February 3, 2021
Florida currently records between 5,000 and 10,000 cases of Covid-19 per day, down from a peak of nearly 20,000 at the beginning of the month. Collier County, where Naples is located, has not been as badly affected as more populous counties, like Miami-Dade and Broward, and has recorded 28,000 cases since the pandemic began and 413 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Nevertheless, Brock’s video left some commenters horrified. “This is pathetic,” one tweeted. “America needs to mask up, not the opposite.”
This makes me so grateful to live in NJ. Everyone wears their masks in stores.
— MomsThoughts™ (@MomsThoughts) February 3, 2021
This is what happens in a redneck state with a stunningly-incompetent governor. Mindless, too-stupid-to-survive citizens, determined to assert their ‘freedom’ to infect themselves and others.I so wish that Darwin were here to see this personally. https://t.co/Koe0y6j8uH
— Dr. David A. Lustig (@drdave1999) February 4, 2021
However, the most extreme condemnation came from one Twitter-verified doctor. “Let’em die,” he tweeted. “I’m so tired of these people. No vaccines for y’all.” In a follow-up tweet, the doctor declared “we can’t waste our energy on these COVID deniers. They are not gonna protect themselves so let’em die. They’ll find out the hard way.”
His comments sparked a furious backlash. “‘Let ‘em die’ is a statement from someone who shouldn’t be permitted to have a medical license,” pundit Tim Young replied, as conservative commenters called for his firing.
Disturbing things happen when politics infiltrate medicine, like doctors calling for people to die because they are free thinking individuals. https://t.co/E01A1HIdH9
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) February 4, 2021
“Let ‘em die” says the blue-check MD. Someone needs to be fired because they’re clearly mentally unfit for their job. If he was any other emergency worker, this would get ‘em canned without a doubt. FFs & cops have been fired over less & they save lives every single damn day. https://t.co/ToxQD4NEqe
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) February 4, 2021
The store in question, Oakes Farm Seed To Table Market, has been at the center of controversy before. Its owner, a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump, has called the coronavirus outbreak “a scam,” and a federal judge on Wednesday tossed out a lawsuit he brought against Collier County challenging its mask mandate, which is set to remain in place until April. In an NBC video report on Thursday, the owner claimed: “I know that the masks don’t work … why don’t we shut the world down because of heart attacks?”
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