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More than two million deaths from COVID-19. See what Superforecasters think is next for the world and the worst-hit country, the United States.
Will the Tokyo Olympics go ahead in July 2021? This week we’re focusing on these questions and more on COVID-19 vaccinations, economic indicators, and global affairs.
On our public dashboards, we update our probability forecasts at 7am EST daily and include regular reports summarizing the trends.
The world has passed another sad milestone: more than 2 million deaths from COVID-19. This did not come as a surprise to Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters, who have been forecasting this number for 2021 since August.
26 Aug 20 – Comment: We’re on track to hit 2 million in reported deaths if things remain as they are. But add in seasonality, and things will get worse.
The question now is how many more COVID-19 deaths are we going to see? Uncertainty about the mortality associated with new, more infectious strains of the virus as well as the uneven rollout of vaccines makes it difficult to extrapolate current trends; however, few Superforecasters would be surprised to see another million deaths worldwide before the end of the quarter.
For the US death toll from COVID-19, professional Superforecasters correctly predicted back in December that the number on 14 January would be 390,000-400,000. Continuing to fine-tune their calculations and watching macro trends in the US today, they are assigning increasing probability to Bin E – more than 540,000 COVID-related deaths by 31 March 2021. Or rather, “coming to terms with this being headed to E,” as one Superforecaster wrote in the beginning of January.
The Japanese public wants the games postponed. Business doesn’t. Weighing the national prestige and vast investment in the Olympic Games in Japan, as well as possible measures to mitigate the risk to the athletes and the spectators, against the continued spread of the coronavirus, Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters assign an 85% probability that the games will go ahead in some form or another. (Aggregate forecast as of 18 January 2021.)
Our vaccine forecast for The Economist asks when enough doses to vaccinate 200 million people will be distributed in the US. This threshold highlights key uncertainties about manufacturing and distribution, which have led the Superforecasters to assign almost no chance to achieving this goal in Q1 2021 and debate whether Q2 or Q3 is the more likely outcome. This comment sums up their views as of 7 January: “We can only imagine that logistics networks are being pushed to the limit right now. Maybe improvements will be made, but I don’t suspect anyone is sandbagging. Q2 is aspirational, Q3 is realistic.”
The Economist‘s coverage includes three additional forecasting questions about the 2021 outlook for:
The percentage of working adults in the UK who will be “working from home exclusively”;
The percentage of corporate board seats at S&P 500 firms that will be held by racial minorities;
World GDP; and
The value of sustainable funds’ estimated annual flows in the US.
Our new dashboard includes updated forecasts and excerpts of the Superforecasters’ comments on each of these topics.
How accurate are the Superforecasters? Review the scores for all closed questions on our public scoreboard. As of November 18th, ten of the questions on our Public Dashboard have resolved. The average Brier score for our aggregate Superforecasts over the ten questions is 0.30 on a 0 to 2 scale, where 0 represents perfect prescience.
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