Donating blood is one of the most effective ways Americans can help during the coronavirus crisis, the United States Surgeon General said.
Speaking during a White House coronavirus task force briefing Thursday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged healthy individuals, especially millennials and Gen Z, to visit their local blood centers.
"Donated blood is an essential part of caring for patients, and one donation can save up to three lives," Adams said.
Nearly 4,500 blood drives have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, resulting in 150,000 fewer blood donations, according to the American Red Cross.
Blood centers, however, will remain open, Adams said, even as many businesses are temporarily closing to promote social distancing, which slows the spread of the pandemic. Donating blood is still safe, he said, and blood centers are taking extra precautions, including spacing beds six feet apart, disinfecting surfaces and temperature checking staff.
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"Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement, so give blood today," Adams said. "You'll feel good about it, and you'll be helping your country and your community during this crisis."