COVID-19-Related Government Contract Obligations Total Almost $17 Billion

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report to Congress titled COVID-19: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts. Of note, the GAO reports that government-wide contract obligations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic totaled approximately $16.9 billion as of May 31, 2020.

COVID-19-Related Government Contract Obligations Total Almost $17 Billion

The GAO report also sets forth the following chart, which shows the top categories of goods and services procured by the government in response to COVID-19.

COVID-19-Related Government Contract Obligations Total Almost $17 Billion

Note: Federal procurement contract obligations do not include grants, cooperative agreements (such as those under Title III of the Defense Production Act), other transactions, real property leases, requisitions from Federal stock, training authorizations, or other non-FAR based transactions.
According to Defense Logistics Agency officials, many of the items they procured in response to COVID-19 were orders placed on a certain contract that, due to a system coding limitation, were coded as marine lifesaving and diving equipment. These obligations include gowns and critical care decontamination systems for face masks.

The GAO reports that examples of goods procured within the two categories of “medical and surgical equipment” and “hospital and surgical clothing” included approximately $3 billion for ventilators and approximately $2.1 billion for personal protective equipment, such as N95 respirators and gloves. Examples of services included about $1.7 billion for basic and advanced biomedical research and development, about half of which was for vaccination development.

The GAO report further notes that the CARES Act provided $1 billion for Defense Production Act purchases, $76 million of which was awarded to increase production of N95 respirators.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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