School breaks and increased travel have caused a dramatic decrease in blood donations; types O and B have dropped to 1-to-2-day level
NEW YORK – New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a blood emergency today, as school spring breaks and holiday travel have caused an alarming drop in donations over the past six weeks. All blood types are low and type O is at just a 1-to-2-day level.
This shortage occurs amid increasing COVID rates, which can be attributed to the highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 that has been spreading rapidly throughout New York and surrounding areas. For example, New York City’s COVID transmission rate has increased 32% in the last 10 days. Last Monday, the city raised its COVID alert level to medium as cases surpassed a rate of 200 per 100,000 people in the five boroughs.
Hospitals and patients rely upon a steady flow of volunteer donors to receive life-saving blood donations, but the recent spike in cases and spring break travel have caused uncertainty. Donor participation has reached record lows at blood drives and donor centers.
“This time of the year always tends to be difficult for the blood supply, with school spring breaks and increased travel making blood donations less of a priority. These factors are now coinciding with increasing COVID cases and a potential fifth wave of the pandemic,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Executive Director at New York Blood Center. “One blood donation has the ability to save up to three lives. We highly encourage all who are able to donate today to help New Yorkers who need it most.”
It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can save multiple lives. Roughly one in seven hospital admissions require a blood transfusion. Those in need include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more.
To make an appointment, donors can call 1-800-933-2566 or by visiting nybc.org.