The year began with more than 1,500 Angelenos signing up to donate blood at the Fox 11 blood telethon. Red Cross volunteers and FOX 11 reporters took calls and set up appointments to ensure blood products are available for patients during National Blood Donor Month, a time in the winter which is a difficult time to maintain a sufficient blood supply.
However, as the pandemic grew, the blood supply began to drop as drives were canceled and more people stayed indoors. The Red Cross provides 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, and any drop can have a damaging effect. Government officials declared that donating blood was essential to community health. So, Angelenos rolled up their sleeves — many of them giving for the first time - and responded to the need.
As the months wore on, it was discovered that the plasma from the blood of those who recovered from a COVID-19 diagnosis contain antibodies that can attack the virus. This led to another push for blood and plasma - and the region responded. In August, the FDA authorized convalescent plasma therapy for people with COVID-19, offering some relief for those with a severe diagnosis.