The New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a blood emergency Monday due to a significant drop in blood supply as fears of the COVID-19 Delta variant lead to canceled blood drives and a decrease in donations.
In recent weeks, the blood supply has dropped from 5 days to a 2-3 day supply and 1-2 day supply of type O. NYBC warned Monday that this could mean even more severe shortages in the weeks ahead.
Although there has been a chronic blood shortage throughout the pandemic, NYBC had anticipated the supply would rebound soon when vaccinated New Yorkers resumed some normal activities.
NYBC also expected school and office blood drives to return this fall. However, the delta variant, which is more contagious, has halted those recovery efforts and threatens the blood supply as community blood drives are being canceled and fewer donors are making appointments at donor centers.
“We are deeply worried by the recent drop in donations and blood drive cancelations -- at this concerning time it's critical that healthy donors continue to come forward to help their neighbors,” Senior Executive Director at New York Blood Center Andrea Cefarelli said.
“A robust blood supply is essential for our healthcare system to function and we must do everything we can to strengthen it at this time of uncertainty. We are so grateful to our donors for continuing to show up and encourage more New Yorkers to join them to ensure there’s enough blood for the thousands who need transfusion each day in New York," Cefarelli went on to say.
According to NYBC, donating blood is safe and takes roughly an hour. Additionally, the organization is taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 with NYBC staff practicing health self-assessments prior to showing up at work. People are also not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.