The Red Cross declared Tuesday, a national blood shortage in the U.S. that it calls the worst “in over a decade” amid rising Omicron cases.
“The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis,” they announced in a press release. “Its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care.” The Red Cross said that doctors across the country are being forced to make “difficult decisions” when it comes to patient care, with physicians faced with choosing which patients should receive treatment and which must wait for additional resources.
The Red Cross also noted a 10% decrease in blood donations since the beginning of the COVID-10 pandemic. Blood drive cancellations and staffing shortages have contributed to the overall decrease in the Red Cross’s blood supply.
The Red Cross called on all Americans to donate blood, as “all types are needed, especially types O positive and O negative.” The Red Cross is also requesting platelet donations in order to prevent delays in “vital medical treatments.”
The Red Cross is responsible for 40% of the nation’s blood supply but has been forced to limit distribution due to shortages. The organization noted that blood cannot be stockpiled or manufactured so they are reliant on volunteer donations.
“Every community in America needs blood on a daily basis. At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges – the Red Cross is no different,” said a chief medical officer of the Red Cross, Dr. Pampee Young. “And while we are all learning how to live in this new environment, how we spend our time, where we work, how we give back, how we make a difference in the lives of others – donating blood must continue to be part of it.”