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American Red Cross for the first time in history declares national blood-shortage emergency

Harry Lynch/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The American Red Cross is begging people to donate blood amid a historic blood shortage, according to reports.

What are the details?

The American Red Cross is experiencing a dangerously low blood supply, CBS News reported.

According to the report, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing a decline in donor turnouts and has been impacting the scheduling of blood drives due to staffing shortages, local mandates, and more.

The effects, CBS reported, have heavily impacted the organization. In 2021, the Red Cross saw a 34% decline in new donors.

In a joint statement with America's Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, the organization said, "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 Hill on Tuesday reported that the American Red Cross said that it had "less than a one-day supply of critical blood types."

"At times," the organization told The Hill, "as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met."

The Red Cross is asking the public to make appointments for blood donation as "blood and platelets donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments."

"Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply," Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross, told The Hill in a statement. "Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care."

According to a previous report from the New York Times, the U.S. faced a critical shortage in March 2020 following the first wave of COVID-19 in the country.

“This is the biggest challenge that I’ve seen in my 30 years in the business,” Chris Hrouda, president of biomedical services at the American Red Cross, told the Times in a December statement on the worsening shortage.

“We simply like to keep three days of inventory,” he added. “We’re struggling to keep one day.”

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