Questions Illinois Reporters Should Ask Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ezike
By: Mark Glennon*
Here are a few questions reporters should be asking Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois’ Department of Public Health, at their daily briefing. More importantly, reporters should be demanding answers when they don’t get them:
• Governor Pritzker, Illinois now has the strictest stay-at-home order in the nation. You say your rule is based on science and data, but aren’t other states basing theirs on science and data? We know different states have different circumstances, but please explain specifically because Illinois is now the outlier.
• Dr. Ezike, antibody test results are critical for calculating the true, effective death rates from infection and for making projections more accurate. What excuse does Illinois have for still not collecting and publishing antibody test results for those purposes? Corrections for error rates in those tests can be made and the CDC has confirmed that at least two of those tests are 99% accurate.
• Governor Pritzker, if a vaccine or effective treatment is never found and the virus never disappears it is your position that you can rule by emergency power forever, correct? Please explain how can you justify that.
• Governor Pritzker, Chicago police disbursed a peaceful protest against your asserted emergency powers on Memorial Day. Don’t you find something profoundly wrong with that?
• Dr. Ezike, the CDC says their best estimate of the death rate for symptomatic cases is just four-tenths of one percent, which would be much lower if asymptomic cases were included. Why didn’t you tell us the risk is that low? Haven’t you been far too alarmist? [See 0.26% death rate estimate from the CDC here.]
• Governor Pritzker, half of our coronavirus deaths have been in retirement homes. Were patients hospitalized for the virus allowed back into those homes? When exactly did the state bar visitation and how strict was the order? How much guidance was initially provided to facilities?
• Dr. Ezike, 86% of our deaths have been age 60 or older. Wouldn’t it have been better to target our effort on the elderly instead of the entire population, and shouldn’t we be doing that now?
• Dr. Ezike, how many have died with COVID -19 and how many have died from it? You were asked this before but did not answer. Please give the numbers.
• Governor Pritzker, you’ve repeatedly insulted those who disagree with your order, characterizing them as extremists, political grand-standers and much worse. What portion of Illinoisans would you estimate you have insulted and, whatever the number, don’t you think that’s inappropriate?
• Dr. Ezike, you and Governor Pritzker have explained why daily new case numbers mean nothing because they vary with the amount of testing. Why do you start each daily press release and conference with those alarming numbers?
• Governor Pritzker, what is your current estimate of how many people who have been entitled to an unemployment check haven’t gotten it, and can you tell us specifically how you know?
• Governor Pritzker, on April 21, you announced new projections moving the likely peak out by about a month. But we now see that hospitalizations, which you’ve said are the most important indicator, peaked just five days later on April 28. So, your your science, data and projections were wrong, correct?
• Governor Pritzker, Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that , in general, he thinks most of the country is opening up in a prudent way. Other states are opening up faster than Illinois. Is Dr. Fauci wrong?