Fractured supply chains, bottlenecks, labor shortages due to draconian mandates and the Great Resignation, and lockdowns have triggered shortages and hyper-inflationary prices for goods & services globally.
One of these essential supplies that is reaching a critically perilously low inventory level is America’s blood supply and awareness of this danger is just emerging.
Running Close to Empty
Underscoring the severity of the crisis is the following chart entitled US Donor Blood Supply Running Low provided by America’s Blood Centers which is the umbrella organization for donated blood.
The Red Cross is responsible for 40% of donor blood in the US and recently declared a national blood donor crisis particularly the eastern US where supply is acute as the above chart indicates. They added that because of staff shortages many blood drives have been cancelled nationwide.
According to the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies, 45% of the blood donors are over 50 - baby boomers. With respect to the younger generation, the American Red Cross reported a 62% fall in blood donations at schools and colleges.
For the aforementioned reasons the US blood supply is unsurprisingly stubbornly low and will continue at these dangerous levels into the future. Americans could literally pay for their lives for lack of blood.
Compounding the low blood inventory are the types of blood required, some of which are rare and are at levels even lower than the more common types. From a global perspective, the following comparative chart entitled The Rarest and Most Common Blood Types Around the World underscores the complexity at matching compatible blood types which can vary dramatically from country to country.
The aggregate blood available and cross-referencing of specific blood types required compound the crisis and makes replenishments of certain blood types more urgent.
The following chart entitled Who Can You Give Blood To? provided by the Society of Hematology presents which recipient can receive which blood types. For example a recipient with AB+ blood type can receive all blood types while someone with O- can only receive from an O- donor.
Blood | Short Shelf Life
Properly stored blood has a maximum shelf life of 6 weeks. However studies indicate that after 3 weeks red blood cells are less flexible to pass through the smaller capillaries in a transfusion due to degradation. For this reason blood donations are a continual process not a one-off event whose replenishments can only be achieved in-person. Only the wealthiest of preppers with their own medical storage facility in situ with qualified medical personnel on call are able to afford such levels of health security.
Donation Shortfall | Authority’s Lack of Credibility
Americans’ fears about giving blood can be justified. From a psychological perspective the credibility at the highest levels of the medical profession with respect to continuing official dissemination, conflicting information and recommendations about Covid and the most recent Omicron virus, has suffered enormously.
From a personal safety perspective, there’s the fear of catching Covid and its mutations even for those who are fully vaccinated. The risk of knowingly entering an environment with Covid-infected individuals with Covid has discouraged potential blood donors. Finally, perhaps not for themselves rather the fear of picking up and transmitting the virus to unvaccinated friends & family or the vaccinated who are at risk to a viral “breakthrough” event.
The following chart entitled Americans’ Biggest Fears provided by The Chapman University Survey of American Fears 2020/21, presents an overwhelming distrust of government officials.
The Present-Day Overview
Because of continued restrictions, blood supply replenishments will stubbornly continue to fall short of required safety levels.
The lack of government and medical credibility will severely hinder its ability to get enough blood donors in the case of extreme need such as an accident or natural disaster. With respect to the former hurricane season in the US begins June 1 and continues through November 30.
The additional risk that could overwhelm the nation’s blood supply is increasing civil unrest. Inflationary food & energy pricing, pushback against restrictions and mandates, longer days and warmer weather could literally bankrupt the blood banks.
Further hampering blood donors is the citizens’ need for self-preservation against the aforementioned risks that makes donating blood a low priority and rather risky endeavor.
Personal Disaster Preparation
With respect to personal disaster preparation, one should find out and record on their mobiles their blood type along with those of family and close friends. This information should be shared amongst those parties so in case of a severe blood shortage or unavailability, a family member or close friend can provide the much-needed liquid life support immediately.
The low blood inventory is a public health crisis hanging over the population like sword of Damocles which will require a far more aggressive effort at getting blood donors before any future crisis occurs.
More importantly, the blood types of family and close friends will lower the risk of you succumbing to a medical event because of the lack of blood donor, especially if you have a rare blood type.
© Copyright 2022 Cerulean Council
The Cerulean Council is a NYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarian perspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urban security.