VDH, Metaculus announce 2nd round of COVID-19 forecasting tournament


FILE- In this Feb. 2, 2021 file photo, Tyson Foods team members receive COVID-19 vaccines from health officials at the Wilkesboro, N.C. facility. Tyson Foods will require all of its U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employer of frontline workers to so amid a resurgence of the virus. Tyson, one of the world’s largest food companies, announced Tuesday, Aug. 3, that members of leadership team must be vaccinated by Sept. 24 and the rest of its office workers by Oct. 1. (Melissa Melvin/AP Images for Tyson Foods File)

RICHMOND, VA. (WAVY) – The Virginia Department of Health and a forecasting organization have teamed up to help predict COVID-19 metrics in the Commonwealth.

VDH and Metaculus, a forecasting platform that helps companies with decision-making by aggregating quantitative predictions of future events, have partnered to launch the first round of the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament

The tournament is aiming to directly address key scientific and policy questions regarding aggregated knowledge regarding certain topics, this time with COVID-19.

When it launched back in April, the initiative produced more than 4,000 forecasts in three months from over 100 quantitative forecasters. The Metaculus platform helped provide insight into the trajectory of COVID-19 metrics in Virginia, including:

  • the path to population immunity
  • the process of vaccine rollout
  • the pace of return to normal
  • the effectiveness of community interventions

Officials say the forecasts from round 1 accurately predicted partially immune evading-variants becoming predominant before September, assigning a 60% chance of this occurring since early May

The forecasts also foresaw the recent easing of restrictions.

On Tuesday VDH and Metaculus announced Round 2 of the Keep Virginia Safe Forecasting Tournament which will focus on the Delta COVID-19 variant and other potential variants, the continuation of vaccine rollout and access, as well as the safe reopening of schools in the fall.

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.

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