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20 articles that predict the future of COVID-19 have been compiled, along with 6 reference websites for future use. A recurring theme is that scientists are very reluctant to make long term predictions due to all the variables that come into play and research has been included that explains their concerns. They are more comfortable making short term predictions. Long term predictions are used to get an idea of how bad or how long the pandemic will be around but are less reliable for predicting deaths and case rates. Therefore, there are fewer long-term predictions as reputable research is not focusing on this area.
Locating long-term, geographic specific predictions was not as successful as locating global predictions. This makes sense, as when looking that far into the future, it is easier to make generalized predictions rather than specific ones. One must also keep in mind that a government could make a single policy change, or a vaccine could fail, and all the predictions would be null and void. Therefore, the research is separated into World, Europe, and US regions. It is of note that the majority of the world predictions reference Europe and the US.

World Predictions

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation provides a forecast to February 2021 that is updated regularly. They forecast deaths, cases, hospital resource use, the use of masks or social distancing, and testing rates for every major country in the world. This is the longest prediction that has been located that is backed by any scientific evidence.

Predictions for a Post COVID World

  • July 23, 2020
  • Multiple experts from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) gather to share their opinions on how the pandemic will change our lives.

How the Pandemic Might Play Out in 2021 and Beyond

  • August 5, 2020
  • COVID-19 is here to stay. How the world successfully navigates will depend on many unknowns. More information is needed on herd immunity, immunity in general, how effective a vaccination will be and for how long it will last, and how successfully people manage “social mixing”.

Coronavirus Pandemic Could be Over Within Two Years — WHO Head

When Will the COVID-19 Pandemic End?

  • September 21, 2020
  • McKinsey shares extensive research and predictions through the end of 2020 with multiple scenarios and end games.

Scientists Want to Predict COVID-19’s Long-Term Trajectory. Here’s why they can’t.

  • September 15, 2020
  • The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Johns Hopkins University research teams are working to study the accuracy of forecasts. They have concluded that “forecasts beyond four weeks are either so inaccurate, or have such a wide range of possible outcomes, that they are useless for personal decision-making or policymaking”.

What Computer-Based Models Can Tell Us About Coronavirus — and What They Can’t

  • May 20, 2020
  • This article discusses the limitations of modeling used to make the forecasts.

In COVID-19’s Shadow: 8 Predictions On How the Virus Could Reshape Our Daily Lives Even After We Find a Vaccine

  • September 2, 2020
  • This article makes 8 different predictions on how life will change. They also have a graphic at the bottom that makes predictions across different verticals, for example, education.

Seasonality and Uncertainty in Global COVID-19 Growth Rates

  • October 13, 2020
  • Scientific research that has been peer reviewed states that the virus will peak in the winter.

It’s 2022. What Does Life Look Like?

  • July 10, 2020
  • While an opinion piece, it touches on many industries and predicts what life might look like.

Why the Coronavirus may ‘Never Go Away’

  • August 5, 2020
  • Some experts believe there is no end in sight. It will become less disruptive, but we will never be completely rid of COVID-19.
  • Another article in “The Atlantic” speaks to the same worries.

US Predictions

Ensemble Forecasts of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S.

  • August 22, 2020
  • This scientific research has not been peer reviewed yet, but it analyzes the effectiveness of using an “ensemble forecast, which is using multiple forecasts to arrive at a more reliable prediction. Their decision was that ensemble forecasts can provide reliable short term predictions.

Bill Gates Predicts Normalcy by the End of 2021

  • October 6, 2020
  • Gates believes if the vaccines work that “rich” countries could be back to normal by the end of next year.

Scientists Predict the Pandemic is Likely to Last For Two Years

  • May 20, 2020
  • Three pandemic scenarios are shared that show the pandemic staying around for much longer than wanted.

Experts Warn U.S. Covid-19 Deaths Could More Than Double By Year’s End

  • August 6, 2020
  • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicts that fall, with its cooler weather and more time spent indoors, could cause an increase in cases and deaths. The death toll could more than double by the end of the year.

IHME Predicts Worst is Yet to Come

  • September 4, 2020
  • The US will top more than 410,000 deaths by the end of the year. They believe that with the seasons changing and people becoming more lax in how they treat the pandemic, that cases will soar.

The Road Ahead: Charting the Coronavirus Pandemic Over the Next 12 Months — and Beyond

  • September 22, 2020
  • This extremely informative article looks at key events and how they will affect the pandemic with hypothetical predictions. “In this project, STAT describes 30 key moments, possible turning points that could steer the pandemic onto a different course or barometers for how the virus is reshaping our lives, from rituals like Halloween and the Super Bowl, to what school could look like, to just how long we might be incorporating precautions into our routines. “

Fauci Predicts Pandemic Will End in Late 2021

  • September 18, 2020
  • Fauci predicts that with an available vaccine and proper social distancing protocols that by the end of 2021, normalcy of some sort will return.

European Predictions

Covid-19: New Scientific Model Can Predict Virus Peaks of Contamination in Europe

  • September 25, 2020
  • “A team of researchers has revealed a pioneering model that aims to predict the rate of propagation of Covid-19 in each country in Europe. “

Second Wave COVID-19 Pandemics in Europe: a Temporal playbook

  • September 23, 2020
  • Scientists predict a second wave and how it will be affected by social actions, along with recommendations for several European countries.
  • A video depicts their predictions.

Reference Sites for Future Use

  • CDC COVID-19 Death Forecasts– Deaths are predicted in four week increments.
  • CDC COVID-19 Case Forecasts- Cases are predicted in four week increments.
  • CDC COVID-19 Hospitalization Forecasts– Hospitalizations are predicted in four week increments.
  • The COVID-19 Forecast Hub compiles data from multiple sources (ensemble forecasts) and makes a two-week projection. This data is updated weekly. They also break down the data by state and make mortality predictions. There is also an interactive map where the information can be visualized.
  • COVID-19 Projections uses machine learning to combine multiple sources and make predictions by state, county, and other global locations. They only predict two weeks out.
  • Deloitte looks at multiple outcomes and predicts the best ways for leaders in government and business to navigate these issues.
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