The value of robust statistical forecasts in the COVID-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has put forecasting under the spotlight, pitting epidemiological models against extrapolative time-series devices. We have been producing real-time short-term forecasts of confirmed cases and deaths using robust statistical models since 20 March 2020. The forecasts are adaptive to abrupt structural change, a major feature of the pandemic data due to data measurement errors, definitional and testing changes, policy interventions, technological advances and rapidly changing trends. The pandemic has also led to abrupt structural change in macroeconomic outcomes.