This time of year a drop in blood donations typically occurs. Winter weather, seasonal illness and holiday travel are usually factors behind the drop. But this winter — one like no other in recent history because of the COVID-19 pandemic — blood donations are needed more than ever.
Like every facet of our daily lives, which demands we choose more carefully where we go and who we want to be around, blood drives have been affected by the pandemic. No doubt, many of the older folks who have faithfully visited the bloodmobile every time it came to their neighborhood are staying home.
The pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of tens of thousands of blood drives and a loss of over a million units of blood nationwide, Baia Lasky, a medical director for the American Red Cross, told Very Well Health News.
The Red Cross estimates someone needs a blood transfusion about every two seconds.
Yet, not only are the normal demands for blood donations in play — surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries — but blood donations during the pandemic determined to contain the virus antibodies may lead to the future donations of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 victims.
Use of the plasma can be a game-changer, boosting the immune response so that what may have become a serious, deadly case for the virus sufferer instead remains more mild and manageable.
For those potential donors who may be hesitant to give blood at this time, know that the blood banks are following the guidelines to make the experience as safe as possible. Appointments must be made in advance to ensure a minimum number of donors at the site at one time. Social distancing and masks, of course, are required.
Blood drives are regularly listed in The Free Press or visit redcross.org and plug in your zip code to find a nearby drive.
Blood donations are crucial to keep up the supply for whoever needs blood for any reason. And the American Association of Blood Banks is seeing a slowdown in supply of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as usage exceeds national supply.
If you’re able, consider giving blood soon. Your gift would be lifesaving.