U.S. blood banks warn they have less than a 1-day supply of blood on hand, need donations

Blood drive in L.A.
Blood drive in L.A. Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The American Association of Blood Banks says the U.S. blood supply has dropped to "red" level, signifying that most blood banks has less than a one-day supply and donations are urgently needed. Blood banks are prepared when they have three days worth of blood supply on hand, Dr. Claudia Cohn, AABB's chief medical officer, tells USA Today. "This is the worst shortage I've experienced since I've been in this in this line of work," or 15 years.

The blood shortage is a combination of fewer blood drives during the COVID-19 pandemic, a return of elective surgeries as the pandemic wanes and vaccination rates rise, and an increase in demand during the seasonal increase in auto accidents, Cohn said. "A blood donation takes 60 minutes to an hour and a half, and each time they do that they're saving a life."

If you are feeling healthy, the American Red Cross would like you to consider donating blood or platelets; you can find donation centers and schedule an appointment though the Red Cross Blood Donor app or website, or by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also find blood drives and schedule an appointment at AABB's site or by phone at 1-202-393-5725.

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