It may seem like most areas of American life are temporarily pausing right now because of the coronavirus — formally known as COVID-19 — but that hasn’t stopped people from needing blood donations. It has, however, stopped a lot of blood drives from taking place and led to a “severe blood shortage,” according to the American Red Cross.
“As the coronavirus pandemic has grown here in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have grown at an alarming rate,” the Red Cross said in a Tuesday news release. So far, the organization says that around 2,700 of its blood donation drives have been canceled around the United States because of “concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses and schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak.”
The organization says that those kinds of drives usually account for over 80% of the blood they collect and that the recent cancellations have caused them to fall short of an estimated 86,000 donations. And with the number of cancelations expected to continue, the shortage could end up hurting people like cancer patients, emergency victims, and those in need of surgery.
“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of Transfusion Medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, said in the release. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”
The shortage has prompted top U.S. health officials to point out that, while some people may be concerned about the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, it is still safe to donate blood and those who can should to take the time to do so. (Read more from “The Red Cross Is Facing a ‘Severe Blood Shortage’ Because of the Coronavirus Response” HERE)