Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Collaborative hubs: Making the most of predictive epidemic modeling

April 14, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that epidemic models play an important role in how governments and the public understand and respond to infectious disease crises. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, models were used first to estimate the true number of infections, then to provide estimates of key parameters, to generate short-term forecasts of outbreak trends, and to quantify the possible effects of different interventions on the unfolding epidemic. In contrast to the central coordinating role played by major national or international agencies in weather-related emergencies, pandemic modeling efforts were initially scattered across many individual research institutions and academic groups. Differences in modeling approaches and assumptions of each individual effort led to contrasting results that at times contributed to confusion in public perception of the pandemic. For this reason, recent efforts to publicly coordinate modeling efforts in so-called “hubs” have provided governments, public health partners, and the public with assessments and forecasts that reflect the consensus (or lack thereof) in the modeling community. This has been achieved by openly and transparently synthesizing uncertainties across different individual modeling approaches and facilitating comparisons between them.