The American Red Cross said Tuesday it has declared its first “blood crisis” as it faces its worst national blood shortage in nearly a decade.
“Amid this crisis, doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives a blood transfusion and who will have to wait until more products are available,” the Red Cross said in a statement. “Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in critical medical treatment.”
The nonprofit is urging people to donate blood or platelets as soon as possible. Potential donors can make an appointment online at RedCrossBlood.org by calling 1-800-Red Cross (1-800-733-2767) or by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor Phone app on the iPhone App Store or Android’s Google Play.
Despite a growing need for transfusions due to record hospitalizations, the Red Cross said it had seen a 10% drop in blood donations since the start of the pandemic. The low donor turnout has worsened since the spread of the delta version – with the trend continuing as does Omicron.
“Supplying 40% of the nation’s blood, the Red Cross has had to limit blood distribution to hospitals in recent weeks,” the organization wrote. “Some hospitals cannot receive up to one-quarter of the requested blood products. Blood cannot be manufactured or stored and can only be made available through the kindness of volunteer donors.”
Although all types of blood donation are welcome, blood types O positive and O negative as well as platelet donation are particularly needed.
The recent COVID-19 surge partially stemmed by the Omicron variant has led to a record daily number of cases and rising hospitalizations.
With Omicron causing record infections in the US, many are left wondering which COVID-19 test is most effective.
In the United States, there have been more than 61 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 844,000 deaths, reports NBC News.