Red Cross: US facing severe blood shortage

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:52 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:53 AM EDT
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(CNN) – As demand for blood continues to climb, the American Red Cross says the U.S. is facing a “severe shortage.”

Over the past three months, the Red Cross said it’s distributed over 75,000 more blood products than usual. That’s more than 800 extra units a day.

“We are seeing an unprecedented demand for blood,” said Dr. P. Dayand Borge Jr. with the Red Cross.

It’s because of the pandemic.

“We’ve been seeing patients that had their care delayed that are now coming back to have their procedures done, whether they would be elective procedures or other types of things, and some of these patients are coming back sicker,” Borge said.

“So, they need more blood than they might have ordinarily needed if they’d gotten care sooner.”

The Red Cross is also seeing a 10% rise in red cell demand from hospitals with trauma centers this year.

While all blood types are needed, types B and O are in demand the most. Platelet donations are also needed.

“Despite everything that we’ve been doing to try to collect even more blood than we were planning, we’re just not really able to keep up,” Borge said.

It doesn’t appear the blood shortage will end in the near future. The Red Cross said it’s in need of sustained donations throughout the summer.

If you’d like to donate, you can call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS, make an appointment online at, or make an appointment through the Red Cross donor app.

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