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    American Red Cross declares a first-ever blood crisis amid Omicron surge

    HealthCOVID-19American Red Cross declares a first-ever blood crisis amid...
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    American Red Cross declares a first-ever blood crisis amid Omicron surge

    Dire blood shortage has forced doctors to delay critical blood transfusions for people in need. The Red Cross and the National Football League have teamed up to offer those who come to give a chance to win a trip to super bowl.

    There is a blood shortage in the United States of America as the Omicron virus lays siege across homes and hospitals throughout the country.

    The American Red Cross Society has urgently called for people to donate blood, calling all donors to donate blood in a ‘Blood Crisis’ on its home page. Alongside the call is a droplet, less than a quarter of which is in red, to illustrate the shortage.

    The blood appeal cries aloud ‘national blood crisis’ on the home page of the American Red Cross. It says, “the Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants. Your donation is desperately needed.”

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    “Doctors have been forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait,” the American Red Cross has said.

    Red Cross blood banks rely on voluntary blood donations. To incentivise and encourage people to come forward, the Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League to offer donors a chance to win a trip to the NFL super bowl.

    According to American Red Cross, there has been a 10 per cent decline in overall blood donation since March 2020. A principal driver of this decline is a 62 per cent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors, who have accounted for about a fourth of all donors in 2019, accounted for just around 10 per cent during the pandemic.

    January blood donations are usually low – but is lower this year.

    Ongoing blood drive have also faced cancellations due to illness, weather-related closures and staffing limitations, the Red Cross has said.

    Additional factors like a surge of COVID-19 cases and an active flu season may have compounded the already bad situation.

    American Red Cross, which supplies 40 per cent of the nation’s blood supply, has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals as a result of the shortage. In fact, some hospitals may not receive one in four blood products they need.

    Blood shortages in January are not unusual. Blood donation dips because people are vacationing and this is also when potential donors have a bout of common flu. People also tend to remain indoors during the winter months. But this year’s shortage is critical.

    January is also observed as the national blood donation month throughout the US.

     

    Image: Screen from American Red Cross home page

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