Pandemic shortfall: blood donations hit critical low

(NBC News) – Blood banks nationwide are in a precarious position this January, National Blood Donor Month.

“We have about a two day supply right now,” says Dr. Claudia Cohn, Chief Medical Officer of the Association of American Blood Banks.

Between the holidays and inclement weather winter is typically a tough season. Now it’s compounded by the pandemic.

“We need everyone who can to go out and donate a unit of blood,” Dr. Cohn says.  “We know that we’re asking a lot because everyone is exhausted. But we need you to just dig deep.”

That’s especially true in some of the hardest-hit areas, like Southern California.

The San Diego Blood Bank has had luck reaching out to recently recovered COVID-19 patients, asking for convalescent plasma donations, also known as CCP.

“We have seen a lot of new donors, but still, it is challenging and we have been needing to import CCP units,” says Dr. Mark Edmunds.

Some communities have been able to hold blood drives, but the majority of donations are happening at fixed centers where appointments are staggered, masks required and surfaces cleaned between donors.

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