1 1 (March 13, 2020)

handle is hein.crs/govcixw0001 and id is 1 raw text is: 









               Researh Sevice






Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Poses

Challenges for the U.S. Blood Supply



March 13, 2020


The current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak may pose significant challenges for the
United States' blood supply. Mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as closures of
schools and workplaces, have led to blood drive cancellations, resulting in a critical blood supply shortage
in the Pacific Northwest (specifically, western Washington and Oregon). School closures, event
cancellations, and other mitigation strategies in other areas of the country may provide challenges for
maintaining a sufficient blood supply. The management and distribution of the U.S. blood supply is
largely coordinated by private organizations, with some oversight by the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS). Congress may consider how best to address critical storages, such as through
HHS or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authority over blood safety and donation
guidance.


Industry and Blood Center Response

The nation's blood supply is managed by a network of independent blood centers and the American Red
Cross. On March 9, 2020, one blood center, Bloodworks Northwest, headquartered in Seattle,
Washington, issued a press release warning that the Pacific Northwest blood supply is at the risk of
collapse in coming days due to COVID-19 concerns. The release notes that the closure of schools,
businesses, and events has led to the cancellation of blood drives in the area.
Immediate risk of blood supply collapse due to the COVID-19 outbreak is currently limited to the Pacific
Northwest. However, blood drives may potentially be cancelled in other areas of the country as
containment and mitigation strategies increase, which may lead to blood supply shortages in additional
areas. Blood centers are also concerned that potential donors may choose not to donate over fears of
contracting COVID- 19 while at the blood center. Blood centers throughout the country and organizations
representing the industry are urging individuals to donate blood to mitigate potential shortages. (For
examples, see Kentucky Blood Center, New York Blood Center, and LifeServe Blood Center.)
Blood products have a limited shelf-life, and therefore ongoing donations are necessary. Blood can be
mobilized and distributed regionally by blood center networks when a shortage exists at a blood center,
                                                                Congressional Research Service
                                                                https://crsreports.congress.gov
                                                                                     IN11238

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