Launch of Scenario Hub projecting future COVID-19 health impact

Press release

A new online modelling hub launched today, the European COVID-19 Scenario Hub, will present modelling projections on how the COVID-19 pandemic may evolve in terms of cases, hospitalisations and deaths. It will serve as a resource for Member States in their pandemic planning and inform decisions aimed at minimising the expected burden caused by COVID-19 under different scenarios.

The hub is developed and run by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in co-operation with the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

“The Scenario Hub will help inform public health preparedness and anticipatory action as Europe transitions into new phases of the pandemic” said Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director. “It will also play a key role in supporting ECDC's risk analysis, assessment of public health advice and strategic planning.”

Sebastian Funk, Professor of Infectious Disease Dynamics at LSHTM, said: “Exploring plausible scenarios for the future of the COVID-19 pandemic can provide valuable insights for planning purposes. This Scenario Hub will bring together the expertise of different modelling teams to help policymakers come to informed decisions.”

The Scenario Hub will be updated by collating long-term modelling scenarios for thirty EU/EEA Member States, the UK and Switzerland. Each potential scenario is composed of one or more plausible and policy-relevant variables (which could be, for example, biological parameters such as the rate of waning immunity, or assumed future changes in contact behaviours). Scenarios cover a period of nine to twelve months, including the coming winter period. Instead of just using single projections, the hub combines and compares different modelling projections from different modelling teams across Europe. The hub can thus contribute to increased confidence and robustness of drawn conclusions and insights.

Scenario modelling combines the best-available epidemiological evidence with realistic assumptions on key uncertainties in order to create future trajectories of relevant indicators. From this, rational policies can be adopted at an early stage. Comparing results contributed by different modelling teams can highlight important parameters, assumptions and sources and the magnitude of their uncertainty, that would otherwise be difficult to capture.

The Scenario Hub builds on the success of the European COVID-19 Forecasting Hub that was launched in early 2021 and continues to combine short-term forecasts on the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths. The Scenario hub will complement the Forecasting hub with more long-term projections submitted by modelling teams in academic- and public health institutes across Europe and the USA.