A viral tweet announced a “coronavirus loophole”, claiming that if you donate blood, you can get tested for free. That is not the case, but it shouldn’t dissuade you from donating blood.
In addition to being a full blow pandemic, COVID-19 has also caused an ‘infodemic’ — an outbreak of information, much of which is questionable.
This is the case with a recent series of tweets and memes claiming that there is a “loophole” in the US health system that would allow people to get tested for free for the coronavirus.
The unfounded rumors picked up so much steam that they need to be addressed: it’s not true, and donating blood will not get you tested for coronavirus — at least that’s the way things stand now, and there isn’t much to suggest they will change soon.
“It’s important to emphasize that there is no data or evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases of transmissions for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus, worldwide,” the press release reads.
However, just to be extra safe, if you have travelled to China, Iran, Italy, or South Korea, or if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or been in contact with someone who has, it would be better to postpone the donation for 28 days, the Red Cross says.
Otherwise if you are a healthy adult, donating blood is not only possible — it is urgently needed. As with almost any health crisis, hospitals are increasingly concerned about potential blood shortages and there are already reports of affected areas stockpiling blood resources. According to Slate, the number of cancellations for blood donations has risen sharply, suggesting that despite reassurance, people are too concerned to give blood.
It’s important to understand that just as hand sanitizer and canned beans can have shortages, blood too, is a resource that can run out. Except when this resource runs out, people’s lives are immediately at stake.
Different health organizations in different countries might have different rules, but if you are a healthy, eligible adult, please consider donating blood. There is always a need, especially in trying times such as the ones we are seeing now.