Red Cross declares first-ever national blood crisis

For the first time, the American Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis -- and they say if the supply does not return to normal soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients. 

Right now, blood centers across the country have reported less than a one-day's supply of blood of certain blood types. Last year, the Red Cross saw a 34% decline in new donors.

The reason behind the shortage? The organization cites recent winter storms, but mainly the COVID-19 surge has caused staffing problems and blood drive cancelations.  

The shortage means hospitals are being forced to make tough decisions about who should get blood and who needs to wait. 

To find out how you can donate in your area, head over to the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies.

A total of 45,000 units of blood are needed daily, it has a short shelf life, and the blood supply needs to be constantly replenished.   

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