News Steam Deck Delayed to February 2022

The world's production chain cannot recover from covid in a short time. it will take years
This is mainly just the excuse companies use for product delays now, so that they can save face by blaming their deficiencies on something supposedly outside of their control. : P

The Steam Deck was just announced a few months ago, and Valve should have had a reasonably good idea by that point how production and shipments were going. If they thought there was any possibility that the device wouldn't start shipping by December, then they should have announced a more conservative launch date. But of course, they wanted to get a rush of people to preorder, expecting their device to arrive by Christmas. So, much like your typical Early Access title, they gave it an unrealistically optimistic launch date to lock in sales.

It's also possible that things simply are not ready yet on the software side of things. The launch of Valve's previously failed Steam Machine ecosystem was pushed back more than a year, apparently due to mixed feedback about their prior version of SteamOS. Valve wants the SteamOS experience to be a lot smoother this time around, and are banking on the Proton compatibility layer to make that happen, but there are still a lot of games that don't work perfectly under Proton. Proton allows Windows games to run on Linux, but last I heard, not much more than half of games will run properly out-of-the box on Proton, and many won't run at all. And Valve is supposedly going through and checking all games to determine their level of compatibility, which is undoubtedly a large effort in itself. So it could be that the hardware is technically ready and in their hands, but the software still needs work.