Extreme weather playing a role in blood crisis

In just the first week of January alone, the Red Cross had more than 60 blood drives canceled due to winter storms.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Red Cross declared the first-ever blood crisis on Tuesday and warned that continued low donations could impact patient care.

The organization cited numerous causes for the decline, including Covid-19, staffing challenges and severe weather.

A spokesperson highlighted wildfires in the West, tornadoes in the heartland and the recent winter weather in the Midwest and East as playing a role in the blood crisis.

The Red Cross reported more than 60 blood drives were canceled due to snow and cold temperatures in just the first week of January.

"More blood drives are anticipated to be affected by winter weather in the weeks ahead, further complicating efforts to rebuild the nation’s blood supply," Jenelle Eli, an American Red Cross spokesperson, said.

The Red Cross said the blood drives that were canceled earlier in the month could have produced around 2,000 blood and platelet donations.


Eli encouraged potential blood donors in areas that escape winter’s wrath to donate and help make for the lack of turnout in other regions.

Since March of 2020, the Red Cross has reported around a 10 percent decline in donors.

This decline has led some medical facilities to not receive upwards of one-quarter of the requested blood products.

"Every community in America needs blood on a daily basis. At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges – the Red Cross is no different," Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the Red Cross, said in a statement.

To donate, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find the nearest center.