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American Red Cross Says Its Having 'Life-Threatening' Blood Shortages, Needs Donations

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross said it needs healthy people to now donate blood.

Since the coronavirus outbreak took hold of American daily life nearly 2,700 drives have been canceled, resulting in about 86,000 fewer blood donations according to a Red Cross news release.

"To put that in perspective, the Red Cross has to collect over 13,000 blood donations everyday nationwide," Red Cross Spokesperson Joe Zydlo said. "If you do the math, it's as if we haven't collected for almost a week. That's unheard of."

If the trend continues, life-saving operations and blood transfusions could be delayed, Zydlo said.

"It could be life or death."

Zydlo said even during the coronavirus outbreak donating blood is safe.

To make sure blood donors and staff are following CDC guidelines, the American Red Cross is checking donor temperatures at the check-in desk and turning away anyone with a temperature at or over 99.5 degrees. Beds are spaced farther apart to follow social distancing rules and hand sanitzer is placed throughout the process.

As Americans are told to stay home except for the essentials, like going grocery shopping or to the doctor's office, donating blood is considered a neccessity for a community's health, Zydlo said.

He said the Red Cross will continue blood drives during the coronavirus outbreak.

To find the closest drive or donation center and schedule an appointment, go to redcrossblood.org and search by zip code.

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