Amid the existing dangers due to coronavirus, officials have also predicted that the US could face a blood shortage in the coming weeks. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, about half of the blood centers in the US have already reported low inventory levels and the country could see a shortage in just two weeks as Americans are avoiding donations and employees working from home are canceling blood drives.
Brian Gannon, who chairs a disaster task force for AABB, in a statement, said that as of March 17, there were more than 4,000 canceled blood drives throughout the country representing approximately 130,000 fewer blood donations.
He added "In addition, we are seeing a significant decrease in people coming to blood centers to donate blood. This represents a real concern for patient care"
According to international media, Washington and New York, two states with the largest number of cases experienced a shortage of this month. Blood banks in Washington faced shortage earlier when they had to ship blood from outside the region. Similarly, supplies in New York also dipped. Meanwhile, the American Red cross also raised an alarm about how it expects the number to cancellations to rise. The blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients suffering from cancer, it said.
This comes as the United States of America, which has reported cases in all its states except West Virginia, is moving closer to a shutdown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on March 15 issued a recommendation urging people to postpone or cancel the gathering of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. This comes after a health official reportedly said that a 14-day shutdown might be necessary.
It has led to schools, restaurants and even bars being shutdown in almost all the states with many of them reportedly issuing a curfew to reduce interactions. New York City on March 15 announced it would close public schools adding to the list of at least 30 states which have announced closures. Meanwhile, Governor Jay Inslee on March 13 expanded school closures and prohibited large gatherings across all of Washington in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.