- The Red Cross is urging people of all blood groups, but especially type O, to make an appointment to donate blood amid the nation’s worst shortage in decades.
- COVID-19 has led to a 10% drop in the number of people donating blood and a 62% drop in blood drives in schools and colleges, according to the Red Cross.
The United States faces its worst blood shortage in more than a decade, in large part due to a drop in blood drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross has said.
The organization has declared a “national blood crisis,” saying “dangerously low” supplies are forcing doctors to make “tough decisions” about who can receive blood transfusions.
In recent weeks, the Red Cross has said it has less than a day’s supply of critical blood groups, forcing the organization to limit blood distributions to hospitals. According to the Red Cross, up to a quarter of hospitals’ blood needs go unmet.
The organization urges people of all blood groups, but especially type O, to make an appointment to donate blood.
RED CROSS WANTS BLOOD DONATIONS AS PART OF OMICRON’S RISE:Because I am gay, I am excluded.
The pandemic has resulted in a 10% drop in the number of people who donate blood and a 62% drop in blood donations in schools and colleges, the Red Cross said. The organization added that blood clinics and donation centers adhere to COVID-19 precautions, requiring face masks for donors and staff.
“Winter weather conditions across the country and the recent increase in COVID-19 cases are worsening the already dire blood supply situation,” Baia Lasky, medical director of the Red Cross, said in a statement. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets in the days and weeks to come to ensure that no patient is forced to wait for intensive care. “
For National Blood Donor Month in January, the Red Cross is partnering with the National Football League to allow those who donate blood, platelets or plasma this month to participate in a raffle for a getaway at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Donors will also be automatically entered into a raffle for a home theater set and a $ 500 electronic gift card.
The Red Cross is also looking for volunteers for blood drives.
As the pandemic fuels challenges with the blood supply, advocates have pushed to remove a long-criticized restriction on gay men wishing to donate blood. Amid the HIV / AIDS crisis, the FDA first banned men who have sex with men from donating blood in 1983. In 2015, the agency updated the policy, requiring gay men to abstain from sex for a year before donating blood.
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.