Gov. Roy Cooper has held regular news briefings on the COVID-19 pandemic, taking a handful of questions from reporters on a teleconference. He’s done interviews with local broadcast media outlets and Spectrum News’ statewide program “Capital Tonight.”
Questions have dealt with unemployment insurance benefits, the safety of prison staff and inmates, and the possibility of measures more severe than the stay-at-home order which took effect Monday, March 27 — including the prospect of curfews and more business closings.
But he hasn’t answered questions my Carolina Journal colleague John Trump and I posed last week about the process and input he’s getting to make decisions affecting more than 10 million North Carolinians. The questions came from our readers who wanted to know what the governor’s brain trust was considering.
We sent the questions by email to Cooper spokesman Ford Porter Tuesday, March 31. We requested either a sit-down interview, a phone call, or an email by Friday, April 3 at noon. We got no response.
At 3 p.m. Friday, we reached out to Porter again, asking at least for acknowledgment the questions were received, even if the governor wasn’t going to answer them.
The questions we sent follow. We continue awaiting feedback.
QUESTIONS FOR GOVERNOR COOPER:
Who are you consulting to guide your decision-making for a COVID-19 response? Are business leaders, educators, nonprofit and civic leaders, elected officials from both parties involved in the meetings or discussions?
What is the process for decision making regarding adopting new restrictions, recommendations, or practices?
Have you considered a reopening strategy? If so, how would you phase it in? When will you make it available to the public?
Have your or your advisers done economic analysis of the shutdown? What is the impact on the state’s economy?
Absent mass testing, is there a more targeted strategy to keep vulnerable communities safe while reopening other sectors of economic and social life?
Have you considered lower-tech approaches, such as asking people who must be outdoors to mask up? Providing thermometers to households without them and ordering anyone running a fever to stay home and isolate?
Why close state parks and limit opportunities for exercise and activity if people practice social distancing?
Governor, we’re still waiting.