FRIDAY, Feb. 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The American Red Cross is pleading for donors as it grapples with its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

The organization supplies 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, but has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals, and some hospitals may not receive one in four blood products they need.

The agency cited a number of factors behind the blood shortage crisis. There has been a 10 percent decrease in overall blood donations since March 2020 and a 62 percent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors accounted for about 25 percent of donors in 2019, but for just 10 percent during the pandemic. Not only that, but there are ongoing blood drive cancellations due to illness, weather-related closures, and staffing shortages. Other factors include a surge of COVID-19 cases and an active flu season, according to the organization.

“At a time when many businesses and organizations across the country are experiencing pandemic challenges, the Red Cross is no different,” the agency said. “We are all learning how to live in this new environment, how we spend our time, where we work, how we give back, how we make a difference in the lives of others — donating blood must continue to be part of it.”

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