U.S. Faces Critical Blood Shortage as Red Cross Pleads for Donations Amid Pandemic

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 Currents News Staff

As COVID-19 hospitalizations rates surge across the country, the American Red Cross and other groups say the U.S. blood supply is dangerously low. 

It’s a new record high in the U.S. as more COVID-19 hospitalizations are in place than at any other point in the pandemic. As those in healthcare scramble to care for these patients, another danger lurks: dangerously low life-saving blood supplies.

“The crisis is the worst we’ve seen in over a decade,” says Chief Medical Officer of the Biomedical Services of the American Red Cross, Dr. Pampee Young. 

The American Red Cross says several factors are behind this, including surging COVID-19 cases; severe winter storms; declines in donor turnout; blood drive cancellations; and staffing problems have all led to shortages across the U.S.

“We are challenged to collect enough blood to meet hospital needs and sometimes up to 25 percent of a hospital’s need might not be met,” said Dr. Pampee.

Some blood centers across the country are reporting less than a day’s supply of certain types of blood and it’s causing major surgeries for some patients to be postponed.

“We encourage anyone who is healthy and feeling well to roll up their sleeves and make an appointment,” said Dr. Pampee, “…we require masks for all of our staff and donors and anyone associated with the blood drive, so the donation process is very safe.”

U.S. Blood Shortage

The New York Blood Center is asking donors of all blood types, but especially Type O, to make an appointment now to give in the weeks ahead.

If you’re interested in donating, you can find a blood drive close to you or make an appointment online at donate.nybc.org or by calling 800-933-2566.