Lisa Worf

Morning Edition Host and Executive Producer

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English. 

Ways to Connect


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper eased restrictions last month to allow most businesses to reopen, but churches could only hold indoor gatherings of at most 10 people. This was how he explained his reasoning: “We know that inside it is much more likely that you’re going to transmit this virus, particularly when you’re sitting or standing in one place for a long period of time.”

Greg Jackson
Heal Charlotte

When we talk about front line workers, we think about nurses, grocery store clerks and bus drivers. Among that bunch are others who keep their communities together. 

Mandy Cohen
NC Department of Public Safety

Along with Gov. Roy Cooper, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen is at the forefront of North Carolina’s plan to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown. Phase 2 of the plan that begins Friday at 5 p.m. is a modified version of what was expected to be announced. WFAE’s Lisa Worf spoke to Cohen about the reasoning for that, the confusion of what’s allowed and her thoughts on the Republican National Convention coming to Charlotte this summer.

Mandy Cohen
NC Department of Public Safety

North Carolina’s Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says the Republican National Committee should “hope for the best, but plan for the worst” when it comes to having its convention in Charlotte in August. 

David Emrich / Unsplash


Why can’t bars and gyms open in the state’s modified Phase 2? How long will this second phase of reopening last? WFAE’s Lisa Worf and health reporter Claire Donnelly break it down. 




North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to announce as early as Wednesday whether the state can move this weekend into Phase 2 of its three-phase reopening plan. On Monday, he said officials wanted “a couple more days” to look at the state’s coronavirus data. 


Cal Cunningham and Thom Tillis campaigns; Gage Skidmore

Responding to the coronavirus has been rough on state budgets. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he'd be in favor of changing the law to allow states to declare bankruptcy. In response, Democrat Cal Cunningham, who's challenging incumbent Republican Thom Tillis in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race, tweeted, "McConnell said he wanted states to go bankrupt instead of the federal government providing relief. Today, Thom Tillis agreed."

Carolinas Medical Center Main Complex, Charlotte.
Google Street View

So much comes down to hospitals in this coronavirus outbreak. Yet, unless you're sick or caring for those who are, it's hard to get a feel for what's happening inside. Dr. Bryant Allen teaches emergency medicine at Charlotte-based Atrium Health and also works in the E.R. He gives us an inside look. 

N.C. Department of Public Safety

The coronavirus has killed more than 300 people in North Carolina. Last week, at the state's near-daily press conference, Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. WRAL's Paul Specht joins WFAE's Lisa Worf to assess that claim.

closed sign
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Gov. Roy Cooper's decision to extend his stay-at-home order is tough to accept for many small business owners, even if they understand the reasoning behind it. Shante Williams represents many small business owners as chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce.


Under North Carolina's stay-at-home order, grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants offering takeout are deemed essential businesses and can stay open. But there are a few head scratchers among the bunch, including the state's government-run liquor stores.

David Boraks / WFAE

Mecklenburg County’s health department is training school nurses to help the seven staff members who perform contact tracing to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

loan applications

The clock is ticking for many small businesses hoping to stay afloat through COVID-19 shutdowns. Banks have received hundreds of thousands of applications to tap $349 billion set aside by stimulus bills. And the program was only launched Friday. If used mostly to retain workers or rehire them, those loans don't have to be paid back. The program is managed by the Small Business Administration. Thomas Stith III is the SBA director for North Carolina.

Post South End

It's the first of the month and that means rent is due for many people who may have lost their jobs due to business closures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Kim Graham is the head of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, a group whose members include owners and property managers of more than 165,000 apartments throughout the region. She joined WFAE's Morning Edition host Lisa Worf.


The coronavirus has certainly affected people’s buying habits. Of course, you probably know that toilet paper and bread are in high demand. So are guns.

Federal background check statistics for March are not available, but gun shop owners across the country are reporting a surge in business. Count Larry Hyatt among them. He owns Hyatt Guns in west Charlotte and says he’s never seen demand so high.



To help curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, employees in many companies are being encouraged to work from home when possible. WFAE is no different. Many of our staff members are practicing social distancing and working remotely. One of those, is reporter Sarah Delia. She’s been working from home and she’s looking for ways to connect with the community.

Santi Vedri / Unsplash

It’s now the fourth day public schools in North Carolina have been closed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Eric Davis, the chairman of the state board of education, says the school system is doing everything it can to deliver instruction, but that the closure has highlighted inequities across the state in delivering distance learning to students.

We're starting off Wednesday not with politics, but, yes, with coronavirus. Social media has been full of charts and graphics about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself against it. We look at one that's been making its rounds. The chart involves classifications of the coronavirus. Now there aren't standard definitions, but mild to moderate cases include symptoms like a fever and dry cough. Some cases may involve a mild form of pneumonia that requires hospitilizaton. The chart we're fact checking says that 80% of coronavirus cases are mild. Joining us to assess this claim is WRAL's Paul Specht.

Phil Roeder / Flickr/

This morning every public school in North Carolina is closed as state and local officials hash out a strategy for keeping kids safe and educated during what could be a prolonged closure for coronavirus protection. The first steps were taken in a series of weekend meetings and phone conferences.

You generally won't hear North Carolina's political parties endorse a candidate in primary contests, but national groups do. Last week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's pick won the party's nomination for U.S. Senate. Cal Cunningham beat three other candidates, including Erica Smith, an African American woman who has served three terms in the state legislature.

The DSCC's endorsement of Cunningham prompted liberal activist William Barber to call out the group.