Red Cross declares ‘crisis’ situation amid blood supply shortage

The nation has faced a number of negative consequences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which might be more damaging than the virus itself.

As one example, the American Red Cross recently declared a “crisis” related to the need for blood donations.

Blood drives dwindle

According to the Daily Wire, the Red Cross issued a statement on its website calling attention to the “worst blood shortage in over a decade,” noting that the situation poses “a concerning risk to patient care.”

The organization went on to confirm that health care professionals “have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will wait until more products become available.”

Punctuating the public alert with a call to action, the Red Cross added: “Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments.”

In its statement, the organization listed several reasons for the current blood shortage. Among the root causes is a 10% drop in blood drive donations since the pandemic began.

That number included a whopping 62% decline in blood drives at colleges and high schools, which previously accounted for about a quarter of all blood donated and currently represents only about 10%.

Other notable causes

The current blood supply shortage has also been exacerbated by a number of other contributing factors, including the cancelation of blood drives because of staffing shortages, illness, bad weather, or other interruptions.

Of course, the Red Cross is not alone in highlighting the critical shortage. Relevant organizations including America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies have also sounded the alarm.

All three groups issued a joint statement on Monday calling attention to the urgency of addressing the “dangerously low level” of blood supply currently on hand. At any given point, reports indicate that the U.S. blood supply is only enough to cover the nation’s need for one day.

Since donated blood has a short shelf life and it takes an average of three days to be properly screened and processed, consistent blood drives are vital in preparing for national shortages or local emergency response.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and the trio of organizations called on all healthy and eligible individuals to schedule an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible.

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