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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mathematical sociology community has been active in contributing its expertise to both combat and better understand the implications of this unfolding disaster. The following is a brief sample of some of the work being undertaken by our community.
Modeling SARS-CoV-2 Diffusion
As unemployment skyrockets during the COVID-19 pandemic, our occupational identities may not be the first thing on our minds. But the social changes we are facing may threaten these core identities, which endangers our mental health. The reality of unemployment, reduced hours, or furloughs is pervasive. For those of us fortunate enough to remain employed, the nature of our work has changed. Many white-collar workers are suddenly working from home, in a virtual environment, often while trying to balance work with parenting.
Perhaps the image of COVID-19 that evokes the deepest fear is that of a person on a ventilator, alone in a hospital room. It is a visceral image, the isolated body as victim to the virus. But embodied social experiences go beyond hospital rooms. Social routines and the risks associated with care work all produce physical changes in a pandemic, and they do so in ways that reproduce inequality.
As of mid-May, 90,000 Americans had been killed by COVID-19, and provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the devastation is disproportionally shouldered by racial/ethnic minorities. Nevertheless, it is way too early to assess the population effects of this deadly virus.