They call it the Hot-Spot library: a ramshackle building of plywood and sheet metal set on a crime-ridden street corner in Cape Town, South Africa.
With its threadbare couches and mismatched carpets, the place looks somewhat dilapidated.
On winter days, rain leaks through holes in the corrugated zinc roof and drips down onto the tables and bookshelves. Built around a pair of aging shipping containers, it may not look like your conventional library.
But for the residents of Scottsville, a neighborhood torn apart by drug abuse and gang violence, it offers a safe space to escape the harsh realities of daily life and to explore different worlds in the pages of thousands of donated second-hand books.
A new study estimates that life expectancy in the U.S. decreased by nearly two years between 2018 and 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the declines were most pronounced among minority groups, including Black and Hispanic people. In 2018, average life expectancy in the U.S. was about 79 years (78.7). It declined to about 77 years (76.9) by the end of 2020, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal.
“We have not seen a decrease like this since World War II. It’s a horrific decrease in life expectancy,” said Steven Woolf of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and an author of the study released on Wednesday.
(The study is based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and includes simulated estimates for 2020.)
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The COVID-19 vaccines are here, but if it’s your turn to get vaccinated, how are you supposed to sign up?
The answers vary by place, so NPR created a tool to help you understand how things work in your state and connect you with local resources. And we’re sharing guiding principles and advice for navigating the process below.
Search for your state below. (There are a few large cities with their own immunization plans that you’ll find on our list as well.)