The American Red Cross says it is experiencing a "severe blood shortage" as hospitals deal with an increase in traumas and other injuries while donations remain low as a result of the pandemic. Monday, the Red Cross said it needed an additional 1,000 donations daily "to prevent further delays in patient care."
"Summertime is always a challenge for people giving blood," says the Red Cross' Dan Halyburton. "People are busy, they're on vacation. They've got lots of things going on in their lives. The big challenge is that so much changed about the need for blood."
As more people have left home for vacations, hospitals are seeing more need for blood, but donations have not returned to the level from before the pandemic. Halyburton says one reason is many people are still working from home, so fewer companies are organizing blood drives at offices.
"So many things have changed. People aren't back in the office," he says. "That really has accentuated the challenges we're experiencing on the blood supply."
To increase donations, the Red Cross will give donors a $10 Amazon.com gift card through the end of July. Donors will also be entered to win $5,000 in free gas.
"This is the first time I've seen this in the time I've been with the Red Cross," Halyburton says. "Unless you've got a muscle car, $5,000 in gas is a lot of money. You can help somebody else. You can help yourself."
Donors will also be entered to win a trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio or Knott's Berry Farm in California.
"It's an amazing feeling when you know you have a concrete way to help somebody," Halyburton says. "You don't know who, but you can truly save a life. It's a life-giving gift."
People can learn more here. Details about the free gasoline are available here, and information about the amusement park trips is available here.
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