In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress appropriated $4.6 trillion in emergency assistance for people, businesses, the health care system, and state and local governments.
On April 27, we issued our 10th comprehensive, non-partisan, fact-based report on the ongoing federal pandemic response and our recommendations for continued improvement. We are making 15 new recommendations and one matter—a recommendation which would need Congressional action—in this latest report, in areas such as improper payments, public health data collection, and the U.S. critical manufacturing sector.
In addition, in our January 2022 report, we designated the Department of Health and Human Services’ leadership on public health emergency response—including for pandemics and extreme weather events—as High Risk due to long-standing challenges.
Read more about our latest report and findings in our press release and below.
Our oversight of COVID-19 relief has produced a total of 279 recommendations to date—61 of which have been fully implemented—and raised 15 matters for congressional consideration. Download a spreadsheet of recommendations from GAO's COVID-Related Work as of March 31, 2022: Excel Workbook (XLSX, 327KB) or Comma-Separated Values (CSV, 120KB).
Among our findings:
- Improper payments have been a significant concern in pandemic spending, especially among large programs like unemployment insurance and small business loans. Federal agencies made about $281 billion in improper payments in FY 2021—an increase of $75 billion from the prior fiscal year and about double the amount reported in FY 2017. To better measure and address improper payments, GAO recommends that the Office of Management and Budget require agencies to certify their submitted data on improper payments.
- CDC’s Data Modernization Initiative aims to improve data collection, information sharing, and surveillance to prepare for future public health threats. However, the agency has not outlined specific actions, time frames, or allocation of roles and responsibilities to achieve those objectives. GAO recommends that CDC define specific actions and time frames for the agency’s data modernization efforts in its strategic implementation plan.
- Manufacturing industry representatives have cited a lessons-learned analysis as a high-priority need for the U.S. critical manufacturing sector. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is responsible for coordinating security and resilience efforts to respond to the pandemic’s impact on that sector. CISA has collected some information but hasn’t finalized plans for an analysis as of February 2022. GAO is recommending that CISA assess and document these lessons learned.
The CARES Act required GAO to issue bi-monthly reports on the federal response to COVID-19 for a year, with periodic reports after that.
Be the first to know when GAO issues new work related to the pandemic and Coronavirus oversight.
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- Twitter: The fastest way to know we have issued new work is to follow us on Twitter @usgao.
- Open Recommendations: Keep track of related open recommendations.
- Blog Posts: Visit the WatchBlog to read the latest COVID-19 posts.
- Previously Issued Work by Topic: Take a look at our section on Past Pandemic-Related Reports.
Our published reports and congressional testimonies that are relevant to the Coronavirus pandemic are available below. The list will be updated with new reports as they are published.
The CARES Act requires GAO to issue bi-monthly reports on the impact of COVID-19 for a year, with periodic reports after that. We have made a total of 108 recommendations and 4 matters for congressional consideration to improve the COVID-19 response in these reports. You can view each report and its recommendations here:
Federal agencies will be responsible for ensuring that all the funds from the record $2 trillion stimulus package end up where they’re supposed to. GAO has been tasked with tracking that money. If you suspect waste, fraud, or abuse of stimulus funds, you can help us out by using FraudNet to report your concerns. Read April 10 press release.
FraudNet is a GAO program for the public, government workers, and contractors to report allegations of improper activities in the federal government—including fraud, waste, or abuse of funds provided under the CARES Act.
- View a summary (PDF, 2 pages) of the COVID-19 work we’ve done as of March 2022.
- Download a spreadsheet of recommendations from GAO's COVID-Related Work as of March 31, 2022: Excel Workbook (XLSX, 327KB) or Comma-Separated Values (CSV, 120KB).
External Federal Resources Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus.gov: Public information provided by the U.S. government related to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Current public health and safety information on COVID-19.
- USA.gov Coronavirus: What the U.S. government is doing in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). View en español.