Red Cross facing severe blood shortage

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The American Red Cross sounded the alarm Sunday over a severe blood shortage facing the U.S. as the number of donors dropped to the lowest levels in two decades. 

The Red Cross said in an announcement that the number of people donating blood in the U.S. dropped 40 percent over the last 20 years, which can majorly disrupt those needing emergency blood transfusions and other operations. The organization added there was a 7,000-unit shortfall in blood donations between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day alone.  

“One of the most distressing situations for a doctor is to have a hospital full of patients and an empty refrigerator without any blood products,” Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a statement. 

“A person needs lifesaving blood every two seconds in our country — and its availability can be the difference between life and death, however, blood is only available thanks to the generosity of those who roll up a sleeve to donate,” Young added. 

The Red Cross said winter weather and respiratory illnesses, like the flu and COVID-19, may hinder people from donating blood. The organization is urging people to sign up to donate blood and are encouraging people to do so by working with the NFL, which is offering a chance to win a trip for two people to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

The organization said anyone who signs up to donate blood in January will be automatically entered for a chance to win.

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