One topic that we at Metaculus have regarded to be of considerable importance (even before the current pandemic) is the topic of Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness. Over the past few years, we've ran a few related question series focused on the possibility of various types of pandemics, and, before the current pandemic had other biosecurity and pandemic series in the works.
Metaculus saw some early discussions of novel coronavirus, back when the incidence of reported cases of novel coronavirus cases were still mostly confined to Wuhan, China. Arguably, a subset of Metaculus users made some very prescient predictions about COVID-19 back when the extent of the outbreak was still very uncertain (see some such examples).
Since then, there has been much interest and a steady influx of questions on the novel coronavirus on the platform. We felt like this created an excellent opportunity for us to create a separate domain focussed on Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness. In the near term, we intend and expect most the forecasting on Pandemic Metaculus to focus on COVID-19, but we intend to broaden our focus to other issues in biosecurity over time.
To help make this happen, we've been very fortunate to have been able to bring aboard exceptional new staff. We're super excited to introduce to you our Joanna, Dan and Juan, who will help us guide our forecasting efforts and help moderate Pandemic Metaculus:
Joanna has an MPH in Biostatistics and Maternal and Child Health, and an interest in social determinants of health and global public health issues. Joanna has a background in engineering and database management, and is happy to join the Metaculus team. When not researching COVID-19, she enjoys time with her husband and 3mo old baby!
Dan has a background in physics and engineering. He currently works as an experiment engineer in the nuclear industry. When he isn't quarantined he spends his free time snowboarding or mountain biking.
Juan is a student studying biotechnology. He works in a RNA biology lab and intends on continuing to be cooped up in a lab as part of subsequent graduate studies in infectious disease. He is currently in awe at the empty streets of New York City.