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(Credit: American Red Cross)
Factors out of most people’s reach have caused everything from high gas prices to shortages of products like baby formula and tampons. But there is another shortage that we can do something about: it’s the supply of blood that hospitals and their patients depend on daily. 
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A Red Cross blood donor rolls up a sleeve to give blood during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Rockville Donation Center in Maryland. (Photo by Dennis Drenner / American Red Cross)

The U.S. is experiencing a “national blood crisis” during what the American Red Cross says is the worst blood shortage in over a decade. Winter weather, a COVID-19 surge and limited volunteers are seen as the major causes.

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A Red Cross blood donor rolls up a sleeve to give blood during the COVID-19 outbreak at the Rockville Donation Center in Maryland. (Photo by Dennis Drenner / American Red Cross)

Coronavirus-related shutdowns of businesses, schools and community organizations has led to massive cancellations of blood drives, leading to a nearly 60% drop in collections, according to the Illinois Coalition of Community Blood Centers.

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American Red Cross collections staff member Cherrelle Simon collects a blood donation from Clint Kraft.  (Amanda Romney / American Red Cross)

“Blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, which could lead to delays in patient care,” said Laurie Nehring of the American Red Cross. “We are doing everything we can to prevent that from happening.”