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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Applications to medical schools have surged nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic in a trend that some admissions officers are calling the "Fauci effect," NPR reports.

By the numbers: The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) says applications are up 18% this year overall.

  • Stanford University School of Medicine saw 11,000 applicants for just 90 seats in its latest round of admissions, marking a 55% increase year-over-year, according to NPR. Boston University saw a 27% increase to 12,024 applications for 110 seats.
  • The trend could have important long-term impacts. The AAMC reports a "growing physician shortage" in the U.S., with the nation on track to be short 54,100–139,000 physicians by 2033.

The big picture: Americans flocking to medical professions during COVID-19 mirrors past crises. Citizens in many ways felt a call to arms after 9/11, causing military enlistments to soar.

What they're saying: Some admissions officers say the national prominence of health workers and officials like Anthony Fauci during the pandemic is likely one of the driving forces behind the surge of applications.

  • Fauci told NPR: "Probably a more realistic assessment is that, rather than the Fauci effect, it's the effect of a physician who is trying to and hopefully succeeding in having an important impact on an individual's health, as well as on global health."
  • "So if it works to get more young individuals into medical school, go ahead and use my name. Be my guest."

Yes, but: Admissions officers also acknowledge that the rise in applications could be a result of students having more time during social distancing to complete the extensive medical school applications process.

Go deeper

L.A. becomes first county to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases

COVID-19 mass-vaccination of healthcare workers takes place at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials said Saturday they had detected the county's first case of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Why it matters: The announcement came as L.A. became the first county to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, straining the area's already overwhelmed health care system.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.