New Yorkers Urged to Donate Blood as Shortage Looms

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability  to unveil GiveBloodNYC, a new campaign this winter to encourage New Yorkers to give the gift of life. City Hall. Tuesday, December 1, 2020. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

As New York City’s blood banks run low, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged citizens to donate blood and build up supplies. Due to the coronavirus, many high schools, colleges, houses of worship and community centers canceled their blood drives, depriving the city’s blood banks of 75% of their usual donations.

In order to bolster the New York Blood Center’s storage, the NYBC is starting GiveBloodNYC, a campaign to encourage eligible New Yorkers to donate.

“Giving blood makes a difference,” said de Blasio at his press conference on Tuesday. “It’s an easy, meaningful way to give back to your community this [winter] season, and I urge New Yorkers to join the fight this month to keep New York City healthy.”

At his press conference, de Blasio was joined by Shatera Weaver, a public school teacher from Queens who lives with sickle cell anemia. To combat the effects of the genetic disease, she relies on transfusions of healthy blood every several weeks to ease the debilitating weakness of sickle cell anemia and keep her from spending days in the hospital.

Weaver made a personal plea on behalf of those with sickle cell anemia, cancer patients, and accident victims. “We all need you,” she said. “This campaign can help me, essential workers, and countless other New Yorkers get through the [winter]..if you are healthy and able to give blood…you can also make a world of difference not only for blood receivers, but their friends and family.”

To achieve the goal of getting 25,000 people to donate blood, plasma, and platelets, the GiveBloodNYC program will be running a lottery for all donors. Prizes include a year’s supply of donuts from a bakery chain, sports tickets, a private tour of the Empire State Building and others for those who donate blood.

“Throughout this pandemic, the people of this city have stepped up and done what was needed to keep each other healthy,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “Donating blood is one more way to quite literally give life to our fellow New Yorkers.”

Overall, the number of coronavirus cases in New York City has been steadily increasing. The new reported cases on a seven-day average threshold was 550 cases, but the city logged 1,685 cases in the past seven days.

Chokshi urged New Yorkers over 65 to stay home. He noted that while numbers were climbing, the city’s hospital system is on top of the situation. The ICUs have a third of their beds available, and over the summer, the city built up its stockpile of ventilators and improved their ventilation systems.

The percentage of New York City coronavirus tests coming back positive was 5.72, de Blasio said, and warned that “If we are not successful in driving down these numbers soon, of course, there’s the real possibility of much greater restrictions.”

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