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Urgent Need for Blood Donations Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Microsoft News for Good 3/18/2020 Microsoft News For Good, in partnership with American Red Cross
© Getty/ThitareeSarmkasat

The Red Cross is now facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer. One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of the coronavirus is to give blood. That’s why The American Red Cross is urging healthy, eligible individuals to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment today to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

The Red Cross states that donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give blood or platelets to help patients in need. 

To find out where you can donate, please click here

See answers below to some common questions around blood donation during the COVID-19 outbreak.

FAQs

Q: The public is being asked to avoid mass gatherings. Aren’t blood drives mass gatherings?

A: Like a hospital, grocery store, or pharmacy, a blood drive is essential to ensuring the health of the community, and the Red Cross will continue to hold blood drives during this challenging time to help meet patient needs. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general has said, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

We understand that people have concerns right now about all aspects of public health, but want to stress that donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give. Most blood drives are not considered “mass gatherings” as these are controlled events with trained staff and appropriate safety measures to protect donors and recipients. It’s important to note that at each blood drive and donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols to help prevent the spread of any type of infection.

Q: Can you contract the coronavirus through a blood transfusion?

A: There is no evidence that this coronavirus or any other respiratory viruses are transmitted by blood transfusions. Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, the Red Cross is using a robust health screening process for blood donors in the U.S., which consists of a temperature check, blood pressure evaluation, hemoglobin level test and a series of questions designed to ensure that a donor is healthy enough to donate. If a donor develops any symptoms of illness within the days following donation, donations are immediately quarantined and not used for transfusion. It’s important to emphasize that there are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

Q: Rumor has it that if you can’t afford the test for coronavirus, the Red Cross will test your blood when you donate. Is that true? 

A: There is no test to screen blood donations for the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses. It’s important to emphasize that there are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusions, and there have been no reported cases of transfusion transmission for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus worldwide.

More information 

What to know about the Coronavirus and Blood Donation

American Red Cross: Frequently Asked Questions

Find a blood drive near you


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