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If you are a student at a public college or university in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, or Wisconsin, the person sitting next to you in class may legally have a handgun under that collegiate sweatshirt he or she is wearing. In these 10 states, legislation allows students and faculty members who have concealed weapon licenses to bring their weapons, such as handguns, to campus. In 2014, bills proposing similar legislation were introduced in 14 states.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans are under stay-at-home and organizational closure orders from their state governors or city mayors (Washington Post, April 2, 2020). These orders may carry legal weight but have rarely been strictly enforced by police. Yet as of March 30, 53 percent of individuals were complying (CNN Ipsos poll, April 1). By April 7, 87% practiced social distancing (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, April 17); 80% supported social distancing even if it damaged the economy (Politico poll, Star-Tribune, April 18).
We are in the midst of a pandemic. But that midst differs by place. Health crises exacerbate underlying inequities, and countries vary in expertise, infrastructure, and the will to address them. As sociologists who study global heath and development across several world regions (Africa, Latin America, and Asia), we understand the importance of recognizing the multiplicity, but also the commonality, of challenges.