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COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that began spreading globally in December 2019. It is still an active pandemic.

COVID-19 deeply affected quiz bowl, resulting in the cancellation of many tournaments. It also accelerated the circuit's incorporation of online tournaments.

Tournament Cancellations

In addition to numerous local tournaments, the pandemic caused multiple national championships to be cancelled. On the high school level, the NAQT SSNCT, NAQT IPNCT, NAQT HSNCT, the PACE NSC, and the IQBT NASAT were all cancelled. On the college level, the 2020 editions of both ACF Nationals and NAQT ICT were cancelled. The middle school NAQT MSNCT was canceled as well.

Shift to Online Play

During the pandemic, more tournaments started to be held online. Qualification for 2021 ACF Nationals was based on a qualifying event that compared the performances of teams on a set of 100 bonus questions, rather than a full tournament. The 2021 ICT reverted to using paper tiebreakers between phases of the tournament.