News & Politics

The American Red Cross Is Facing a Major Blood Shortage

Here's how you can help

Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross
Coronavirus 2020

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The American Red Cross has had to cancel over 6500 blood drives due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in a serious blood shortage.

“I am looking at the refrigerator that contains only one day’s supply of blood for the hospital,” Dr. Robertson Davenport, director of transfusion medicine at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, said in a press release. “The hospital is full. There are patients who need blood and cannot wait.”

If you’re healthy and can donate blood, consider doing so. The Red Cross will be adding appointments at donation centers, and will be expanding capacity at community blood drives in the coming weeks. More information about where to donate can be found here

Red Cross leaders understand people might be hesitant to donate blood in the age of social distancing, but they’re assuring the public their practices are safe. Staff and donors will have their temperatures screened before entering the drive, beds will be spaced to follow social distancing practices, and the environment will be as sterile as humanly possible. Additionally, there is no evidence that coronavirus or any other respiratory disease can be spread through blood transfusion.

With some exceptions, anyone 17 and older who is in good health and weighs more than 110 pounds is eligible to donate blood. More information on donor eligibility can be found here.

Those looking to donate in the DC area can do so at Eaton DC April 28-30 from 12 to 6 p.m. More information on how to sign up can be found here.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.