FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 3, 2021
Cindy Clayton, VDH PIO, firstname.lastname@example.org
VDH and Metaculus Launch Round 2 of the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament
Reputation-Based Community Forecasting Has Informed COVID-19 Modeling and Planning in VA Since the Launch of Round 1 in April
Round 2 Will Help Assess COVID-19’s Epidemiological Trajectory and the Impact of Variants in the Fall
Richmond, VA – With every community in Virginia experiencing the profound effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, VDH and Metaculus partnered to launch the first round of the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament in April, to inform science-backed public health policymaking within the Commonwealth. The initiative received robust participation: over 100 quantitative forecasters produced more than 4,000 forecasts in three months. The Metaculus platform provided the tools for thousands of forecasts to be algorithmically aggregated and continuously updated, providing insight into the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in Virginia, the path to population immunity, the process of vaccine rollout, the pace of return to normal, and the effectiveness of community interventions.
Today, to continue supporting COVID-19 operations and planning in the state of Virginia, VDH and Metaculus are announcing Round 2 of the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament. This second phase of forecasting will focus on the Delta COVID-19 variant and other potential variants of concern (VOCs), the continuation of vaccine rollout and equitable access, and the safe reopening of schools in the fall.
In the spring, Metaculus forecasts accurately predicted partially immune evading-variants becoming predominant before September, assigning a 60% chance of this occurring since early May, and also foresaw the recent easing of restrictions.
While the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia has significantly improved compared with the spring – as of mid-July, the 7-day moving average of new cases was 340, compared to a peak of 5,906 on January 8th – cases are currently rising again. The more-transmissible Delta variant is on the rise, and there is an urgent need to understand and plan for the likeliest fall scenarios.
Round 2 is now open. If you’d like to boost forecasts on these topics and the future of COVID-19 in Virginia, you can participate in a number of valuable ways:
- Join the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament and make forecasts. The starting prize pool for accurate forecasts is $1,000.
- Share your expertise, brainstorm forecasting questions, and update the community with the latest research in the COVID-19 Discussion Forum.
- Reach out to researchers and experts to enlist their help, furthering this cause by generating new shared knowledge on the Metaculus platform.
We welcome you to join the community, and learn more about the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament, and Metaculus’s broader pandemic forecasting efforts.
Metaculus is an organization and forecasting platform that improves decision-making by aggregating quantitative predictions of future events. Since March 2020, Metaculus has been providing forecasting and modeling resources to public health professionals and public policy experts as they have navigated critical decisions about COVID-19 interventions in communities around the world.
The successful forecasting track record of the Metaculus platform means it is well positioned to provide planning support and insight into the trajectory of COVID-19 over the next few months, using the techniques of probabilistic forecasting and weighted aggregation.