US blood supply ‘lowest in recent years’
Blood banks across the US have been hit by staffing shortages and drops in donor turnout due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and adverse weather, the American Red Cross has warned.
“The nation’s blood supply remains at one of its lowest levels in recent years,” the American Red Cross, the America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies said in a joint statement on Monday.
“In recent weeks, blood centers across the country have reported less than a one-day’s supply of blood of certain critical blood types – a dangerously low level. If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.”
The statement said that the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases and adverse weather are the main reasons behind the drop in donor turnout. Blood centers suffer from staffing challenges and are forced to cancel blood drives, it said.
The Red Cross has been warning about emergency blood and platelet shortages for months. Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in September that the supply of types O positive and O negative blood, the most needed blood types by hospitals, dropped to less than half-day supply at times.
“This is the biggest challenge that I’ve seen in my 30 years in the business,” Hrouda told The New York Times last month.