Despite lockdown measures being in place to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, it is crucial that people still donate blood.
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19’s sudden emergence and rapid spread across the world have fundamentally changed how societies function, requiring radical restrictions on movement.
These lockdowns aim to limit the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to reduce both the number of people dying after becoming infected and the strain on overloaded intensive care units.
However, while staying at home as much as possible is important, it is also crucial that many essential workers can leave their homes safely. These individuals include care workers in hospitals and the community, public service workers, and people working in food industries, as well as anyone else who plays a key role in helping the country keep functioning, whether there is a pandemic or not.
As well as these key workers, other people who are crucial for maintaining the health of a population are those who donate blood.
A country’s blood supply is integral to supporting people in a critical condition. According to the
Depending on the reason why a person needs a blood transfusion, the
The American Red Cross note that scientists cannot manufacture blood and platelets, and the
According to the
Without ready access to supplies of blood, many people would not be able to undergo lifesaving blood transfusion procedures.
As with all the other resources that a country depends on, supply and demand largely determine its blood reserves. At a local level, if there is a significant accident causing a loss of blood from many people, blood reserves may become stretched as the demand increases.
Conversely, too few people donating blood can put pressure on the blood reserves, as the supply of blood cannot meet the demand.
The physical distancing policies that authorities have implemented during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak have put severe pressure on the supply of blood in the U.S.
According to Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA’s
Dr. Marks describes people who donate blood as “part of our critical infrastructure industries.” Despite the physical lockdown measures, it is crucial that people continue to donate blood.
It is the responsibility of local governments to encourage people to donate blood and to help them do it in a safe way that does not significantly increase their risk of getting or passing on SARS-CoV-2.
In short, the benefits of giving blood at this critical stage of the pandemic far outweigh the negative consequences of the increased number of people traveling from their homes.
While it is crucial that people continue to donate blood, doing so safely is, of course, also important.
As with other people who are critical to the functioning of society and thus unable to stay at home, people who donate blood should adhere to physical distancing policies when traveling outside,
As Dr. Marks
In Dr. Marks’ words, “[b]lood donation centers always take steps to prevent staff and donors who are not feeling well or who have a fever from reaching the donor area, and they are now taking additional social distancing precautions wherever possible, consistent with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.”
“Donating blood is safe and takes only a little of your time. At many blood donation centers, those who are interested in donating can make an appointment to minimize the time it takes to donate blood. Centers can arrange to call a donor’s mobile phone when they’re ready for the donor to come in.”
- maintaining good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
- following hand hygiene practices
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly
- placing seats 6 feet apart in waiting areas and the collection area
- ensuring that donation center workers do not work if they have
- making sure that all staff are aware of the latest policies and safety procedures in response to the pandemic
Various organizations can help a person find a local blood donation center where they can schedule an appointment. These organizations include:
For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.