Those who depend on regular transfusions are increasingly worried as over 4,000 blood drives were canceled in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, according to the American Association of Blood Banks.
This situation, which resulted in a loss of 130,000 donations, is unprecedented, according to Dr. Claudia Cohn, AABB’s chief medical officer and director of the blood bank at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, CNBC reported.
The University of Minnesota Medical Center, like many hospitals across the country, has postponed elective surgeries, including those that treat slow-moving cancers, in order to extend its blood supply.
Her hospital is splitting in half the usual amount of blood given to patients, but if a patient is still symptomatic, they will receive more blood.
According to CNBC, the American Red Cross still has blood donation centers open and has set up new ones at hospitals, said Dr. Pampee Young, the organization’s chief medical officer. The American Red Cross website currently has an alert for a severe blood shortage because of the coronavirus.
Young also said it’s important to note that people can’t transmit the coronavirus, or other respiratory illnesses such as a cold or the flu, by donating blood.
Those who are most likely to donate blood are people older than 60, according to AABB’s Cohn. However, this group is most at risk in the coronavirus pandemic and may be more reluctant to leave home.