CLEVELAND — Known as a familiar face in Ohio’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has gained national attention for her response and daily briefings that have become rituals in households across the state. On Tuesday, Dr. Acton was featured in The New York Times opinion video piece called “The Leader We Wish We All Had.”
In a 6-minute video, the NY Times deconstructed her daily briefings to find out why she has gained popularity. Since the onset of the pandemic, Acton has been honored with her own T-shirt, Lego display, animated parody video and even a bobblehead.
Every afternoon, Acton stands with Gov. Mike DeWine during his briefings on the state’s response to the coronavirus. When it’s her turn to speak, she explains medical lingo and complex concepts about COVID-19 in a calm and collected manner, offering clarity during a fluid situation.
However, Acton's actions haven't been met without criticism—something Ohio State Representative John Becker (R-Union) has publicly voiced.
Becker has introduced a bill title NOW, Need Ohio Working, that would make Dr. Acton’s orders instead recommendations that the General Assembly would have to vote up or down.
"There's been an epic abuse of power,” Becker told News 5.
Under the current statute, Dr. Acton has the ability to "to make special or standing orders or rules… for preventing the spread of contagious or infectious diseases” as was in the case for changing Ohio’s primary date in March.
On Saturday night, a small group of protesters went to Acton’s neighborhood to protest the stay at home order.
Responding to The NYTimes piece, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Twitter, "There is no doubt that her leadership has saved lives. Thanks also to every Ohioan who is listening to her guidance and taking it seriously. We can't do this without you."
We are so very lucky to have @DrAmyActon in #Ohio. There is no doubt that her leadership has saved lives. Thanks also to every Ohioan who is listening to her guidance and taking it seriously. We can't do this without you. #InThisTogetherOhio #StaySafeOhio @OHdeptofhealth https://t.co/tcVELMMLeL— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 5, 2020