The COVID-19 pandemic, which first appeared in China at the end of 2019, has swept across over 220 countries, resulting in millions of infections and deaths and catastrophic economic losses. With the aim of quantitatively evaluating the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, this article constructed an output-oriented multi-stage super data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to assess the COVID-19 transmission efficiency in 117 countries and analyze the transmission characteristics and trends in different periods in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We found that there were significant differences in the pandemic spread in different countries, with the pandemics in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Brazil being relatively more serious. However, many countries had similar pandemic transmission characteristics, such as stable or periodic transmission. Although 14.5% of the world population had been fully vaccinated as of August 1, 2021, no pandemic transmission vaccine effect has yet been directly observed.