Red Cross declares nation's first blood crisis

The American Red Cross, which supplies 40 percent of the nation's blood, on Jan. 11 declared the first-ever national blood crisis. 

The stark announcement comes weeks after the Red Cross, along with two other national blood organizations issued a joint statement urging eligible people to donate amid an unprecedented supply shortage. 

"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  Dec. 13 statement said

Blood organizations point to the cancellation of blood drive events, staffing limitations and other effects of the pandemic as drivers of the severe supply shortage. The shortage means some hospitals may not receive all of the blood they need on certain days. On some days, hospitals might not receive as much as one-quarter of blood products requested, the Red Cross said in its most recent update. 

"All types are needed now, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations, to help reverse this national blood crisis," the organization said. "If there is not an immediate opportunity available to donate, donors are asked to make an appointment in the days and weeks ahead to ensure the Red Cross can replenish and maintain a sufficient blood supply."

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