Breaking News
More () »

'We don't take this for granted': Dr. Amy Acton reflects on 2-year anniversary of COVID-19 as Ohio continues to rebound

A little over two years after Ohio's first reported cases of COVID-19, former health director Dr. Amy Acton looks back and looks ahead.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio and the nation continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state's former health director is reflecting on the two-year journey.

After speaking to the Cleveland Leadership Center on Thursday, Dr. Amy Acton sat down with our sister station 10TV-WBNS for an exclusive interview.

COVID-19 cases in Ohio are continuing to decline. The CDC's updated guidance is allowing for masks to be taken off and there's a sense that we are finally returning to some normalcy. Acton is staying cautious, yet is hopeful that things will remain positive. “The thing about a dimmer switch is it’s in our own control and it’s nuance. We need to pay attention, be able to dial it back and be able to know we have a tool to use if we need it," she said.

"We don't take this for granted. I mean, I just can't hug people enough," Acton added.

During the early days of the pandemic in March 2020, Acton raised many eyebrows when she predicted that the battle against COVID-19 could last "for at least two years." Now, nearly two years later, Acton didn't want to take a victory lap. She is instead focusing on how Ohioans can come together to solve problems. 

"I feel like this was always a war against a common enemy," Acton said. "It's just been the worst, science fiction-like nemesis. But it's something we all have in common. An enemy that the entire world shared. We have to learn to live with the knowledge that this is part of our ecosystem. It's frightening, but we always were on the same team."

Divisiveness and partisanship has been one of the key subplots of the COVID-19 pandemic. Acton resigned in June of 2020 just months after Ohio's first cases amid relentless attacks from critics. Now, she prefers to look back at those early moments of the pandemic from a more positive light.

“People talk about the hate and there is a lot of partisanship and I don’t want to make light of it, but the story that I experienced personally was people rowing together helping get to the other side," Acton said. "Ohioans flattened the curve, Ohioans reached out to pull each other on life rafts."

You can watch the entire interview below.

Related Stories:

Before You Leave, Check This Out