How Much has the US Spent on Covid-19 Response?

In this post we wish to lay out the simple spending numbers in response to Covid-19 and provide some context as to their efficacy with other data.

Here is a breakdown of how much of that has been spent thus far. It does not include anything from the planned 1.9T Stimulus.

Ninety percent of the $2.59 trillion in COVID-19 funding was appropriated to four agencies: Department of the Treasury, Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Labor, and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Of those funds, roughly half, or $1.27 trillion, were allocated to fund loan and loan guarantee programs. These funds could be used to generate an estimated $3.92 trillion in loans and loan guarantees to businesses and individuals. This includes loans which will be disbursed directly by the government, like the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. It also includes funds for loan guarantee programs, such as the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which are disbursed by partner financial institutions.

As of October 1, the federal government had made $1.79 trillion in obligations, of which $1.62 trillion was outlayed. These totals were calculated from agencies’ certified monthly reporting to the Treasury’s Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS).

Data in this analysis is reflective of Fiscal Year 2020. The Data Lab team is working on updating data from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (PL 116-260) as well as Fiscal Year 2021. Data will be published when it is ready. To learn more about how we developed this analysis and download the raw data, visit the Data Sources and Methodologies page.


If you would like to explore the unemployment rate covering 2008 to the 2020 pandemic, you can visit this chart by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since employment is always the primary public driver of these types of bills it seems reasonable to present the context.


The US is the fourth highest Covid spender, as a percent of GDP

We will explore this more in future posts. But we are presenting this as a means of showing the efficacy of greater spending in response to Covid.

The questions we want to explore are:

  • Is the US overspending in response to Covid.

  • Is it necessary for this spending to continue?

  • Is the spending rectifying earlier errors, accelerating recovery, impotent, or just what is needed?

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