The Stream

Can the US solve its unprecedented blood shortage?

On Monday, January 17 at 19:30GMT:
For the first time ever the American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis.

The organisation, which supplies about 40 percent of the blood in the United States, says its blood banks are experiencing a severe shortage in donations. Most blood centres carry a five-day supply of the various blood types. However, many banks have reported only having a one-day supply, which is forcing doctors to make hard choices about patient care.

The Covid-19 pandemic is being blamed for the shortage. In part, because a rise in the infection rate means a diminishing number of healthy donors. The pandemic has also seen staffing challenges at blood banks and the cancellation of blood drives. Overall, the Red Cross estimates there has been a 10 percent drop in blood donations since March 2020.

In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the crisis, its impact, and ask our panel of experts for solutions.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
David Oh, @InTheKnowDrOh
Chief Medical Officer, Hoxworth Blood Center

Ankita Sagar, @sagar_ankita
Primary Care Physician

Evan Tomkiewicz