(WSYR-TV) — The American Red Cross is asking Americans to roll up their sleeves amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
Blood donations have virtually dried up. More than 3,000 drives have been canceled in the wake of the pandemic. These drives were supposed to bring in 90,000 united of blood.
Now, the organization is starting to dip into the five days of inventory it tries to keep on hand.
The Red Cross is reassuring that the process is safe. They screen all donations for things like coronavirus. They’ve also updated its protocols. The beds are further apart, staff members take their temperature every day, and donors disinfect their hands multiple times throughout the process.
“We do not want to create a different kind of health crisis because there is a blood shortage,” said Gail McGovern, American Red Cross President and CEO. “We need blood because hospitals are doing surgeries, etc. We don’t want to get to a point where doctors are making these tough choices to figure out who needs the blood the most.”
Other countries are urging recovered patients to donate plasma, which experts say contains antibodies that could help those who are still sick.
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