Accounting for COVID-19

As the second year spent with COVID-19 comes to a close, we took a sweep through the USA Spending data hub to check the receipts on the federal response to COVID-19. 

Our topline takeaways:

  • $4.5 trillion in COVID funding has been allocated to 44 government agencies.
  • $4 trillion has been obligated (or promised).
  • $3.5 trillion has actually been spent, leaving nearly $1 trillion unexpended.

Of these totals, $2.2 trillion has been obligated to 14.8 million individuals, organizations, businesses, state, local, or tribal governments in the form of contracts and financial assistance.

Over half of this total – about $1.4 trillion – was obligated by the Small Business Administration ($912 billion) and the Treasury Department ($464 billion).

From the perspective of individual federal assistance programs, the biggest distributors were:

  • The Paycheck Protection Program ($821 billion for 11.5 million awards),
  • The Education Stabilization Fund ($259 billion for nearly 14,000 awards),
  • The Coronavirus State and Local Recovery Funds ($243 billion for 5,500 awards) and
  • The Coronavirus Relief Fund ($150 billion for 2,100 awards).

In terms of the over $1 trillion in unexpended funds, agencies with large percentages of unexpended funds include:

  • Homeland Security ($85 billion or 85% unspent)
  • Education ($222 billion or 72% unspent), and 
  • Transportation ($67 billion or 64% unspent).

Explore the comprehensive data set here.