COVID-19 Category

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic – a global outbreak of a disease – on March 11, 2020. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. The pandemic is a human health crisis that will have implications for everyone.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge includes a special category this year for topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants entering a COVID-19 video will know that they are helping to educate the world about a global crisis – the causes, impacts and potential solutions. Ten top-scoring COVID-19 videos will be included in the Popular Vote phase of the competition on Facebook, and this year both the overall top-scoring video plus the top scoring COVID-19 video in the Popular Vote will move on to the final round of judging. The top scoring COVID-19 video in the Popular Vote may also receive special recognition.

COVID-19 Topics

Here are just a few ideas for starters below. Experts in the field on the news and your teacher may also give you inspiration.

  • Epidemiology – incidence, distribution and control of disease.
  • Immunology – the body’s defense system.
  • Virology – viruses, viral virulence, viral genomes, biophysics of antibody development.
  • The contagion curve/modeling of pandemics, the mathematics of exponential growth.
  • The science of a pandemic or pandemics and how they started/how they ended.
  • Vaccine and drug development.
  • Biostatistics.

COVID-19 FAQs

How is entering the COVID-19 category different than entering the Life Sciences, Physics or Mathematics categories?

By taking the challenge and creating a video on COVID-19 you will be helping to educate the world about this global health crisis – sharing the science or math behind the causes, impacts and potential solutions. In addition, the top ten top-scoring COVID-19 videos will be included in the Popular Vote phase of the competition, and this year both the top scoring video included in the Popular Vote and the top scoring COVID-19 video in the Popular Vote will move onto the final round of judging in the selection of the winner of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. The top scoring COVID-19 video in the Popular Vote may also receive special recognition for this accomplishment.

Will selecting the COVID-19 category increase my chances of winning the Breakthrough Junior Challenge?

No, all categories are judged the same. Your video submission will be scored on the four key criteria (Engagement, Illumination, Creativity and Difficulty) as outlined on the Judging page of the website.

What are some of the topics I can choose in the COVID-19 category?

Here are just a few ideas for starters below. Experts in the field on the news and your teacher may also give you inspiration.

  • Epidemiology – incidence, distribution and control of disease.
  • Immunology – the body’s defense system.
  • Virology – viruses, viral virulence, viral genomes, biophysics of antibody development.
  • The contagion curve/modeling of pandemics, the mathematics of exponential growth.
  • The science of a pandemic or pandemics and how they started/how they ended.
  • Vaccine and drug development.
  • Biostatistics.

Can I enter two videos – one in the regular categories and one in the COVID-19 category?

No – only one video per person is allowed.

Can I work in a group for the COVID-19 video?

The Challenge is a competition for individuals only. You can brainstorm ideas in a group and have others review your Application. You can also use friends as actors in your video. However, you must be the sole creator of your submission.

See Rules for more information.