The American Red Cross recently issued a statement regarding a severe blood shortage across the nation. The organization reported that the US blood supply has reached critically low levels, with a decline of nearly 25% compared to the previous month. The New York Times mentions that this scarcity is primarily attributable to consecutive months of worsening climate-related disasters. These disasters have disrupted blood collection efforts and donation drives. The Red Cross further explained in its official announcement that reduced turnout during the previous month was also influenced by a combination of factors such as peak travel season and back-to-school activities, leading to a deficit of 30,000 donations.
Dr. Pampee Young, the chief medical officer of the American Red Cross, emphasized that for many patients in need of immediate medical attention, crises don’t cease after natural disasters. She noted that in certain cases, the stress caused by a disaster can escalate into a medical emergency for individuals battling sickle cell disease. The Red Cross stated that it is closely monitoring the potential impact of Hurricane Lee on communities in the Northeast later this week. In the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia striking the Southeast last month, around 700 units of blood and platelets—sufficient for several transfusions—were left uncollected.
While other blood collection organizations have not yet encountered a shortage, there is concern about the long-term trend, as reported by CNN. Jenny Ficenec, executive vice president of Blood Centers, explained that the donor base is aging, and the number of donors under 30 has almost halved over the past decade. Ficenec also mentioned that less than 20% of blood donations come from individuals aged 20 to 34, whereas donors over 50 contribute to over 45% of blood donations. (Read more blood supply stories.)
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