Predicting Pandemics

Metaculus Update -- Prediction Resources for the Pandemic

With stunning rapidity, the novel coronavirus has upended everyday life in every corner of the world. Very few truly anticipated either the magnitude or the extent of the disruption that is occurring.

The exponential spread of the virus has generated a sudden demand for accurate predictions. Metaculus and its community of predictors are meeting this need. At the start of 2020, the user base was over 10,000, and the trustworthiness of the network and the presence of demonstrated "superpredictors" among the users is firmly established by a four-year track record spanning hundreds of resolved questions.

Since late January of this year, Metaculus has hosted more than 18,000 new predictions on questions related to all aspects of COVID-19, including the number of confirmed cases, the efficacy of various containment and treatment regimes, and the social and economic impact around the world. A sub-site, gathers together all of the questions related to the pandemic. Metaculus has also launched a dedicated COVID-19 prediction dashboard to aggregate the most important questions and their associated predictions. Our goal is to assist in time-critical decision-making at every level, from the individual to the public policy decision-maker.

To better achieve these aims, Metaculus had been adding staff (question writers, site developers, researchers and moderators), and has partnered with both the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to host questions, and with the COVID-19 Forecasting Project at the University of Oxford, who will feed prediction results from Metaculus into their publicly available simulations.

The most important factor, however, is you, the predictors and users of the site. To succeed, we need you to bring Metaculus to wider attention, and we need your best-effort predictions!