The American Red Cross declared a national blood crisis for the first time in history due to the "dangerously low" blood supply. This comes during a period of unprecedented challenges were created by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The month of January was National Blood Donor Month, and the nation's blood supply has reached "dangerously low levels," according to the American Red Cross. According to a statement, all blood types are needed, particularly Type O-positive and Type O-negative. 

Under normal circumstances, the Red Cross supplies 40 percent of the U.S. national blood supply hospitals use. The organization saw a 10 percent decline in people donating blood with the pandemic. 

"If the nation's blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed," American Red Cross said in a joint statement released last week.

According to America's Blood Centers, as of Jan.17, 24 percent of community blood centers have a supply of one day or less in the western region of the United States.

The most recent figures released by the county reported 9,878 new Covid-19 infections and five deaths as of Friday, while the surge in hospitalizations continues. Hospitalizations driven by the virus reached 1,180 on Friday, and of those, 178 were in intensive care.  

San Diego County has seen a cumulative total of 568,212 cases and 4,545 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. 

According to the statement, concerns compound; blood centers nationwide continue to face a decline in donor turnout, blood drive cancellations, staffing challenges, and donor eligibility misinformation. 

The American Red Cross urges individuals to donate blood to combat this shortage. 

In the U.S., more than 16 million units of blood and blood products are transfused annually, with more than 45,000 units needed daily. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed, and made available for patients, so it's the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency. According to American Red Cross, blood components have a short shelf life, and the blood supply needs to be constantly replenished.

Appointments are available at and Those who prefer to call can dial 1-800-RED-CROSS or reach the San Diego Blood Bank at (619) 400-8251.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *