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Overview of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) forecasts

Global EpidemiologyMedical InterventionsGovernment PolicyTesting and TrackingClinical ScienceEconomy and BusinessSocial and Political Impact
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Global Epidemiology

The 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak was designated a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, 2020 [1]. As of April 2nd, more than 1M cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 180 countries and territories [2].

Many infections of SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus) will likely go undetected, because of lack of access to testing and the lack of symptoms amongst many individuals infected [3].

Estimated total and diagnosed total cases in 2020

Probability distributions of the community prediction of the actual total number of infections human deaths occurred before January 1 2021 as estimated in the year 2021 (left chart), and the probability distribution of the number of total confirmed infections reported to have occurred before January 1 2021 (right chart).

As of March 23rd, over 15,000 fatalities due to COVID-19 have been confirmed [4] . Preliminary research has yielded case fatality rate numbers between 2% and 3% [5]. in January 2020 the WHO suggested that the case fatality rate was approximately 3% [6].

Predicted total number of fatalities worldwide



It is currently not known when the global coronavirus outbreak will peak, as this depends on country-based mitigation efforts, medical advances, and a series of key epidemiological factors, some of which are poorly understood at present for COVID-19 [7].

Predicted total diagnosed cases globally across various quarters

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of the total global number of human infections reported in the second, third and fourth quarter of 2020, and the first quarter of 2021 that.

The proportion of deaths to the total numbers of cases, or case fatality rate (CFR). The CFR is not a value which is tied to the given disease, but is instead reflective of the severity of the disease in a particular context, at a particular time, in a particular population [14].

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of ratio of fatalities to total estimated infections for COVID-19 by the end of 2020.

The transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus) varies across region and time as this depends on local human factors, including contact structure, mitigation responses and demographics [10, 15].

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of the implied doubling-time (in number of days) is over the period from 20th of Jan till to the last day of the month that sees the highest growth in the number of cases.

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of the implied doubling-time (in number of days) is over the period from 20th of Jan till to the last day of the month that sees the highest growth in the number of cases.

Medical Interventions

Although no vaccine has completed clinical trials, there are multiple attempts in progress to develop such a vaccine. In late February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it did not expect a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus, to become available in less than 18 months [10].

Predicted timeline for a vaccine being administered outside of clinical trials

Right chart: predicted date when at least 10M individuals have been administered a COVID-19 vaccine. Left chart: the probability that at least 10K individuals are to be vaccinated in 2020 (right chart).

Remdesivir is a novel antiviral drug in the class of nucleotide analogs. It was developed by Gilead Sciences and as a treatment for Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus infections [11]. Remdesivir has been administered to several hundred patients with confirmed, severe SARS-CoV-2 infections in the United States, Europe, and Japan through Expanded Access or Compassionate Use programs [12]. On 20 March 2020, the FDA made remdesivir available for compassionate use to patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 [13].

Predictions on various antivirals being administered to at least 50,000 COVID-19 patients in 2020 in the US, UK, Europe, and Japan.

Time-series of the Metaculus community prediction whether a variety of antiviral medications will be administered to at least 50,000 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infections in the US, UK, EU member states, and Japan, by the end of 2020.


COVID-19 case fatality reduction factor under various antiviral medications

Probability distributions of the Metaculus community prediction whether a variety of antiviral medications will be administered to at least 50,000 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infections in the US, UK, EU member states, and Japan, by the end of 2020.

Government Policy

Predicted lock-down timelines across various locations

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of the date when the lockdowns will be eased or removed in various locations.

Testing and Tracking

App-based tracking of COVID-19 cases

Time series of the Metaculus community prediction of whether, by May 1 will there be an iOS or Android app that shares an individual's COVID-19 infection status with more than 1M other users.

NSA-data used for tracking COVID-19 cases

Time series of the Metaculus community prediction of whether, by September 2020, it be revealed that data gathered by the NSA has been used for tracking COVID-19 infections.

Clinical Science

Smoking and death rates in the United States

Probability distribution of the Metaculus community prediction of the number of US states with highest smoking rates that will be among the 12 states with the highest death rate from COVID-19 in 2020. s.

Economy and Business

*To be updated*

Social and Political Impact

*To be updated*

About us

Metaculus is a reputation-based, massive online prediction solicitation and aggregation engine. Our goal is to generate predictions on important, big-picture questions.

Feel free to get in touch with us with any questions or requests regarding our forecasting efforts.