Blood donations are at the lowest level in 15 years, the American Red Cross announced, citing a variety of factors including the severe weather conditions and lack of donor activity.
"The American Red Cross fell 50,000 units short of its needs in June and will likely fall short again in July," it said, according to an MSNBC article.
This season is of particular concern due to the harsh storms that forced many blood drives to be cancelled, although summer is typically a slow season for blood donations anyway.
"The need goes up because there are more people traveling and there's more accidents," Kim Talkington, regional director of donor recruitment for Red Cross operations in Wichita, Kan., told MSNBC. "At the same time, donations fall because families are out of town on vacation."
The low blood supply has already forced the cancellation of many elective surgeries, and may lead to more cancellations down the road.
"In a worst-case scenario, more serious procedures — things like liver transplants that require a lot of blood — will not start until there is enough blood on the shelves," says Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer of the Red Cross in a USA Today article. "We need to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't get to that point."
Individuals from organizations such as America's Blood Centers and the Blood Alliance are pulling out all the stops to encourage donation, including sending out "bloodmobiles" to sports stadiums and tracking donations with a free smartphone app.
"According to the ARC, more than 3,000 hospitals and transfusion facilities across the country need 17,000 pints of blood daily to have an ample supply," according to a TimesRecordNews article. "The organization said blood is needed every two seconds for someone in the country."
"We need people to think about the need for blood, because the need never goes away. The need never, ever goes away," said Diane O'Donnell, a Red Cross representative in Oneonta, N.Y. in the MSNBC article.