The U.S. is experiencing a dramatic shortage of blood donations as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its ninth month.
According to America’s Blood Centers, a national organization for independent blood centers, 21 of its 59 centers have only a one-to-two-day supply of blood, and 10 community centers have a one-day supply or less.
Hospitals count on blood transfusions for many purposes. Platelet products support cancer patients. Red cells are used in surgery and trauma. There is a huge demand for convalescent plasma, the blood from people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies.
“We need all blood products and we need donors to come out,” said Paul Sullivan, senior vice president at the American Red Cross. “Because in every aspect of our operation, we’re seeing hospitals seeking our products to make sure they can deliver the good care to our patients across our communities. It’s a critical time.”
The greater New York area’s health care system requires 1,500 donations each day to treat patients. New York Blood Center said it is receiving 8,000 fewer donations per month in the region, which is about 65% of what is needed.
New York Blood Center said pre-pandemic, 550 community blood drives were hosted each month. Currently, there are only around 280 blood drives per month.
Before the pandemic, donors could stop by community blood drives at local churches, schools, or workplaces. Now people need to make appointments to visit donor centers.
Blood centers across the nation have adapted to the pandemic with strict guidelines. Staff and donors are required to wear masks, check temperatures as they come in and practice social distance.
Bernardo Flores is donating convalescent plasma for a third time after beating coronavirus in April. He said he feels safe at the New York Blood Center.
“It’s an incredible feeling to know that my blood can help up to like three people all fighting against Covid,” Flores said. “It’s a good deed one can do to help people get out of this world that we live in right now.”
Shiyu Xu contributed to this report.
Fox News’ Shiyu Xu contributed to this report.
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