From Gail McGovern, the CEO and president of the American Red Cross.:
“As a nation, this is a time where we must take care of one another including those most vulnerable among us in hospitals,” said Gail McGovern, president and chief executive officer, American Red Cross. “One of the most important things people can do right now during this public health emergency is to give blood. If you are healthy and feeling well, please make an appointment to donate as soon as possible.”
The ENTIRE blood collection industry (America’s Blood Centers, Armed Services Blood Program, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center, and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) are coming together – it’s never happened before – to call for a need for blood which illustrates the dire need for action to re-supply the nation’s blood banks.
The Red Cross is a critical part of this – as the supplier of nearly half of the nation’s blood supply.
Blood donations are plummeting as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Raising the alarming possibility of a national blood supply shortage.
The resounding message from blood banks: If you’re healthy, give blood now.
The Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood collector: In the past 24 hours, Red Cross blood drive cancellations have doubled due to coronavirus concerns, with 125 canceled blood drives—translating to 3,500 uncollected blood donations. Each donation typically helps three people.
“This is an unprecedented situation,” says a Red Cross spokesperson. “We are doing everything we can to prevent a shortage. We are very concerned that fewer eligible donors will be able to give, making it extremely difficult for our inventory to recover if we get to shortage levels.”
The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending blood drives.
There’s no evidence that the coronavirus is transmittable by blood; today’s coronavirus falls into the same virus family as MERS and SARS, neither of which are transmitted via blood. However, out of an abundance of caution, the Red Cross is requesting that individuals postpone donation if they have the coronavirus or have recently traveled to certain countries with outbreaks.
They’re also postponing donations from people who have had “contact with a person who has or is suspected to have the virus”—which is tricky, given how widespread the virus is expected to become, and that those with mild cases may not present symptoms.