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Confirmed COVID-19 infections before 2021:

Cross-posted on Metaculus: Pandemics.

The 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak is an ongoing global outbreak of coronavirus disease. It is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China. As of 10 March 2020, 115 countries and territories have been affected, with major outbreaks in central China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

Some people suspect that the discrepancy between confirmed cases and actual infections is and will be very big due to impossibility of testing everybody. Predictions on Metaculus also seem to have high variability depending on whether the resolution will be based on the number of confirmed cases or scientific estimates of actual number of infections. There is also a lot of confusion relating to estimates of case fatality rate vs. infection fatality rate (see comments).

This questions aims to allow us to estimate this difference.

The question asks how many confirmed cases (not just estimated!) of COVID-19 will be reported before 2021?

Resolution criteria: The question will resolve based on the number of confirmed and reported cases before 2021 by WHO. Preferably based on the last Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation report for the year 2020. Specifically the number reported in the section "Situation in numbers", total cases, globally confirmed.

The resolution may be based on some other source if this specific number will not be available in this exact form. For the number to count, this question requires the number to be:

  1. reported by WHO
  2. specifically refer to the total number of confirmed cases globally

Please note, that WHO could adjust their reporting methodology if the most impacted countries decided to change their counting methodology, as they did with China. This question relies on expertise and authority of WHO to make sure that confirmed cases are actually confirmed. If WHO claims that cases are confirmed this question will accept that.

This question will resolve ambiguous if the total number of confirmed cases globally as reported by WHO will not be available.


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Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

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