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A Silent Hero of the Coronavirus Crisis

Summary:
Sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, and no matter how selflessly one sacrifices, one stands no chance against a more powerful enemy. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has proved to be such a foe, and were it not for technology, the battle against it would have been lost by now. NEW HAVEN – Not to diminish the superhuman efforts of nurses, doctors, and health-care workers worldwide, but sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, and no matter how selflessly one sacrifices, one stands no chance against a more powerful enemy. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has proved to be such a foe. Were it not for technology, the battle against it would have been lost by now. The Three Essential Questions about

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Sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, and no matter how selflessly one sacrifices, one stands no chance against a more powerful enemy. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has proved to be such a foe, and were it not for technology, the battle against it would have been lost by now.

NEW HAVEN – Not to diminish the superhuman efforts of nurses, doctors, and health-care workers worldwide, but sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, and no matter how selflessly one sacrifices, one stands no chance against a more powerful enemy. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, has proved to be such a foe. Were it not for technology, the battle against it would have been lost by now.

Math and technology, to be more precise. I say math, because understanding a concept as basic as “exponential growth” proved crucial for attacking the enemy head-on.

The successful containment of the epidemic in China, South Korea, and Japan has been attributed to strong governments and cultures that put society’s good ahead of private convenience. I would add that these countries also stand out for their students’ high math literacy. In the 2019 PISA rankings, produced by the OECD, China ranks first in math with a score of 591 out of 600, Japan ranks 6th, and South Korea is 7th. By contrast, Italy is in 31st place, Spain places 34th, and the United States ranks 37th.

PISA scores may have their shortcomings, but they do provide a rough idea of the math literacy of the average citizen in the countries that take...

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