President Donald Trump, and first lady Melania Trump hug Surgeon General Jerome Adams, center, during a National African American History Month reception in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
So what can people can do if they want to help those in need during this strange time?
According to U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, there’s an easy way to assist that will possibly save lives: donate blood.
As reported by Fox News, the American Red Cross has estimated that, thanks to thousands of blood drive cancellations, it’s received 150,000 fewer donations.
The SG explained at a White House press conference Thursday:
“Blood centers are open now and in need of your donation. … Social distancing doesn’t mean social disengagement. So give blood today, you’ll feel good about it.”
Jerome was sure to point out that giving blood is “safe,” and that — based on direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — more precautions than usual are being taken.
Currently, beds are being kept 6 feet apart. Furthermore, the Red Cross is encouraging people to schedule their donation appointments ahead of time.
And the Wuhan flu could mean a greater need than usual.
Last week, officials warned about what a potential shortage of blood and platelets could mean for hospitals and patients as the number of Americans infected by COVID-19 ticks toward 10,000.
Dr. Ralph Vassallo — the chief medical and scientific officer for nonprofit blood collection organization Vitalant — said much the same in a press release last week:
“Hospitals will be extremely challenged if COVID-19 infections increase. The last thing we want them worrying about is having enough blood for trauma victims and cancer patients. That’s why it’s imperative that healthy individuals donate blood at drives and blood donation sites now.”
There are, however, some from whom hospitals don’t want blood.
Due to the virus, one group includes those who’ve traveled to China, Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, Macau, and South Korea.
Those Americans are being asked to wait 28 days before giving blood.
Also barred: Any who are infected, of course, and those who have had contact with an infected person.
On the 11th, the Red Cross asked people to keep the blood flowing.
Here’s Chris Jrouda, president of Red Cross Blood Services:
“As communities across the country prepare for this public health emergency, it’s critical that plans include a readily available blood supply for hospital patients.”
The official ARC website makes things clear:
The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.
I can think of few things more beautiful than giving someone in dire need the gift of blood. It’s a good reminder: During this time of trouble, no matter who you are, you can do something wonderful for your fellow Americans.
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