WTVM Editorial 4-1-21: Back-to-Normal Index

WTVM Editorial 4-1-21: Back-to-Normal Index
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 1:28 PM EDT
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(WTVM) - Recent reporting on the plummeting rates of coronavirus cases and deaths, along with rapidly rising vaccination rates combine to paint a brighter picture every day.

While we don’t want to completely let our guard down, maybe we can start to feel things returning to normal.

Usually, normal is a very subjective term. But it turns out there is a pretty reliable, analytical way to measure “normal” – and I thought you’d be as interested to learn about it as I was.

It’s called the “Back to Normal Covid Recovery Index” and it was devised by the financial reporting firm Moody’s Analytics along with CNN’s business unit.

On a scale of 100, both Georgia and Alabama rate 91 on the Back to Normal Index, two of only 14 states to be in the 90 percentile.

The US average is in the 80 percent range.

That’s good news for the two states we serve, because the information that makes up the index comes from widely-accepted business statistics and societal trends.

The Moody’s Back to Normal Index is based on factors like vehicle sales, consumer confidence and the number of seated diners in each state. Also, the number of hours worked, retail sales and factory orders…and a whole host of other statistics that, when taken together, create a picture of quote “normalcy” in a given state at a given time.

Georgia scores 91 percent on the Back to Normal scale with unemployment at 5.1 percent.

For comparison, look at New York State, which scores only 75% Back to Normal, and with a crushing 8.8 percent jobless rate.

Florida scores the highest Back to Normal percentage of 96, with a jobless rate of 4.6%.

Like Georgia, Alabama also stands at 91 percent Back to Normal, helped by Alabama’s jobless rate of 4.3% -- one of the lowest in the country.

None of this means COVID-19 is no longer a concern.

But one fact has been true throughout the pandemic and is still true today: the average age of mortality from the coronavirus is 78 years old, which is also the average American life expectancy.

For those infected by the virus under the age of 65, without truly major health complications, the recovery rate is about 95%.

Clearly, protecting our oldest and frail population remains the most important thing we can do - with vaccines and the latest, best medications.

But for those who do not fall into that group, things are slowly getting back to normal, whether there is an official index that says so or not.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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