(Indianapolis) – The head of the American Red Cross says the Kovid epidemic has created the worst blood shortage in decades.
Gayle McGovern told the Economic Club of Indiana at one point that the Red Cross had dropped its one-day blood supply, with the number of hospital admissions skyrocketing as planned donation drives were canceled.
This is in addition to the dozens of disasters that the company usually responds to. McGovern said the Red Cross has continued operations for those disasters, but with new epidemic protocols for sheltering victims of hurricanes and wildfires. McGovern said the company needed masks, new seating arrangements were introduced to allow social distance, and cafeteria-style dining lines were replaced with box lunches. He said he was proud and relieved that there was not a single Kovid outbreak in the shelters.
McGovern says his biggest concern now is not the epidemic, but the growing refugee crisis and climate change in Ukraine. Over the past decade, he says, the number of billion-dollar-impact natural disasters has doubled, and hit unexpected times and places, from last year’s winter storm in Texas to the tornado that struck Kentucky in December.
McGovern called the situation in Ukraine “gut-wrenching.” He says the American Red Cross is providing financial support to European partners who have been helping millions of refugees from Russian bombings, providing medical care, advice, food and shelter. McGovern said the American Red Cross also sent IT and communications experts to Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary to assist in the relief effort.
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