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Updated: Feb 7, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the global response, continued to evolve in 2021 -- from the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations globally to the rise in cases due to the Delta variant and the emergence of the Omicron variant at the end of 2021. Building on previous landscape analyses, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) continues to assess the first- and second-order impacts of COVID-19 on low- and middle-income countries. The pandemicʼs impacts have been widespread across development sectors and regions, and threaten to setback decades of progress. Weakened health systems, ballooning debt, lost educational opportunities, and the first increase in extreme poverty in decades are just some signs of the public health crisisʼ rippling disruptions across the globe.

This analysis is organized around eight categories of impacts: health; vaccine distribution and administration; macro- and microeconomic trends; migration and remittances; pressures on governance, democracy, and stability; food security; and education. This analysis is not exhaustive, but instead intends to provide a high-level synthesis of some of the major storylines of 2021, leveraging the best available data to understand the pandemic's most significant global impacts.

The data used in this analysis are derived from a range of public sources, including real time, daily updates on caseloads and second-order impacts, modeled forecasts, quantitative estimates of underlying risks and vulnerabilities, high-frequency phone surveys of households, and qualitative research and reports from third-party institutions.


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