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Canceled Blood Drives, Social Distancing Cause Nationwide Blood Shortages

  • 1Consulting Editor, JAMA Health Forum and JAMA

Facing severe blood shortages amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, blood collection organizations, such as America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross, are issuing urgent calls for healthy people to donate blood to replenish dwindling supplies.

Their pleas were reinforced last week by US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, who urged healthy individuals, especially younger people, to donate blood. “Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement,” he said.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also advocating for blood donation. “Routine blood donor screening measures that are already in place should prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. For example, blood donors must be in good health and have a normal temperature on the day of donation,” the agency noted. “As communities are affected, it is imperative that healthy individuals continue to donate blood.”

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