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Covid-19: Fewer boys were born in England and Wales in the early stage of the pandemic



The covid-19 pandemic has been linked to a decline in the proportion of male babies being born, in line with previous findings that fewer boys are born after population-wide stressful events


4 October 2022

Fewer-than-expected boys were born in England and Wales three months after lockdown was introduced

Joel Goodman/LNP/Shutterstock

There were fewer male babies born in England and Wales in mid 2020 than expected, possibly because the stress of the covid-19 pandemic led to more pregnancy losses of male fetuses.

Outside of the pandemic, more male babies tend to be born than female ones. Between 2012 and 2020, 1054 boys were born for every 1000 girls each year on average in England and Wales.

No one is sure why this happens. It may be because boys …

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Bad Bunny es el más escuchado de Spotify tres años seguidos



CIUDAD DE MÉXICO — Bad Bunny extendió por tercer año su reinado como el más escuchado a nivel mundial de Spotify colocándose en el primer puesto de la lista de artistas y de álbumes del año con “Un verano sin ti”. Bad Bunny también alcanzó el cuarto y quinto puesto de las canciones más reproducidas a nivel mundial.

El astro puertorriqueño es el primer artista en encabezar tres años consecutivos la lista de favoritos en Spotify. En 2022 tuvo más de 18.500 millones de reproducciones en el servicio de música por streaming.

Al igual que en 2021, la segunda artista más escuchada a nivel mundial fue la estadounidense Taylor Swift, seguida por los canadienses Drake y The Weeknd así como la banda sudcoreana BTS. Swift es la más reproducida también como artista femenina.

“El hat trick (triplete) que hace Bad Bunny con tres años consecutivos siendo el artista más escuchado en todo el planeta no es poca cosa”, dijo el jueves Uriel Waizel, editor en jefe para música de Spotify México.

“Hay que celebrarlo, es un artista latino y está por encima de todos los monstruos y superestrellas del entretenimiento global”, subrayó, durante la inauguración de la Casa Spotify, un espacio en el centro de la Ciudad de México donde se presentarán de manera temporal experiencias inmersivas para que los fans vivan lo más escuchado del año.

“México y la Ciudad de México tienen muchísimo que ver en esto”, agregó Waizel sobre el logro de Bad Bunny. “Somos el principal país que consume reggaetón en el mundo. México también es una plataforma para que Latinoamérica salga al mundo y también el mundo entra a Latinoamérica a través de México”.

La canción más popular de 2022 es el éxito Harry Styles “As It Was”, con más de 1.600 millones de streams en todo el mundo. En el segundo puesto fue para “Heat Waves” de Glass Animals y por segundo año consecutivo “STAY” de The Kid LAROI con Justin Bieber. El cuarto y quinto puesto son de Bad Bunny, con “Me porto bonito” y “Tití Me Preguntó”.

Tras “Un verano sin ti” de Bad Bunny, el segundo álbum más escuchado del año fue “Harry’s House” de Harry Styles. La lista no cambió su tercer, cuarto y quinto puesto extendiendo el dominio de álbumes de 2021: “SOUR” de Olivia Rodrigo (3), “=” de Ed Sheeran (4) y “Planet Her” de Doja Cat (5), se aferraron a sus posiciones.

Los artistas más virales de 2022, cuya música se comparte con más frecuencia desde Spotify a las redes sociales, son: Taylor Swift en el primer puesto, The Weeknd en el segundo puesto, Bad Bunny en el tecero, BTS en el cuarto y Lana Del Rey en el quinto.

La letra más compartida a nivel global fue “Heat Waves” de Glass Animals, seguida de “Heather” de Conan Gray, “I Love You So” de The Walters, “Summertime Sadness” de Lana Del Rey y “Somewhere Only We Know” de Keane.

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Pantone’s color of the year was made for the metaverse – Chicago Tribune



On Thursday, Pantone announced its 2023 color of the year: Viva Magenta. A hue with a lust for life. Not the aggressive synthetic of Barbie, not the intense luxury of Valentino’s couture, not the tired millennial salmon, but as New York Times critic at large Jason Farago put it, “a saturated shade honking at the threshold of fuchsia, definitely not organic but not quite electric.”

The shade was selected by human trend prognosticators who survey fashion and design, then interpreted by the AI tool Midjourney to create what Pantone described as an “endless new ecosystem to be explored, called ‘the Magentaverse.’” In a news release, the company called Viva Magenta, aka Pantone 18-1750, “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.”

A few members of the Times Styles team ventured into the magentaverse to debate the color of the year.

Vanessa Friedman: The magentaverse! Let us pause for a moment to consider that word. I wonder what Mark Zuckerberg would say? I also wonder what you all would say. What does it mean that this is what could define 2023?

Callie Holtermann: The actual swatch of this color is so similar to TikTok’s “follow” and “upload” buttons. AI drives TikTok’s algorithm, AI helped express the color of the year. I guess the house always wins?

Jeremy Allen: I’ve grudgingly got to hand it to AI: Magenta might be the only color for 2023, a year that’s going to be all about divided government, divided everything. It’s neither here nor there (“pinkish-purplish-red” is one of Wikipedia’s definitions, and it’s exactly between red and blue on the color wheel), but it’s screamingly in-your-face.

VF: On the other hand, Jeremy, it’s also a compromise between red and blue. Which is maybe optimistic? At least politically. Though, according to color scientists, magenta does not technically exist, which is a less positive sign. There’s no wavelength of light that corresponds to magenta. It is simply that place where blue fades into red.

Stella Bugbee: The AI part of it feels like a gimmick gone wrong. Our ability to think about and differentiate between colors and apply meaning to them feels like a big part of what makes us human. Why outsource that?

CH: Like those Dall-E images created by AI, it’s got the gist, but something is off in a way that a robot might not (yet) notice, but a human would.

JA: As a designer of the print section on this desk, I have no doubt my job will be replaced by an algorithm in, what, five years? (It was wonderful working with you all!) But the lo-fi-ness of it all is one of the reasons I love magenta: It’s not so secretly one of the cornerstones of color printing — the M in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). When something looks too red on a proof, we ask to reduce magenta, not, in fact, red. It’s a subtractive primary color, which means it never really gets its due. But what would we do without it?

SB: What do we make of the “Viva” of it all? Especially since Midjourney, its chosen interpreter, has a distinct lack of “viva”?

Louis Lucero II: Like the shade itself, it seems to insist that we be excited about it, but I’m coming up blank on a reason we should. It’s not a color that you want to live with in any meaningful way, is it?

Jessica Testa: The Jennifer-Coolidge-as-Tanya-in-”White Lotus” of colors. It’s standing at the breakfast bar of the five-star Italian resort asking for Oreo cookie cake.

JA: It almost feels like the millennial pink of yesteryear run through an algorithm to make it feel “post-pandemic” — that kind of Roaring Twenties redux.

JT: That’s the thing about these Pantone announcements; they explain their choices by making sweeping generalizations about the mood of the world. I remember in 2019, they chose “classic blue” as a response to everyone feeling “completely overloaded and perpetually stressed.” Pre-pandemic! If only they knew!

VF: So here’s another question: Would you wear it?

JT: Not for me. Though I will say the idea of wearing this shade of pink appeals more to me right now than wearing muted pink — say, millennial pink.

VF: Pantone identifies it as a “hybrid color,” or “a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a ‘fist in a velvet glove’ approach.” They also say it “welcomes anyone and everyone.” But it’s interesting that most of us think of it as closer to pink than red.

LL: Pink is a fact of life, and it does feel that the brash maximalism of Ms. 18-1750 suits our current moment much better than a more restrained cotton candy or carnation shade.

CH: Somebody tell the AI that this color would wash me out!

SB: The AI doesn’t love us, Callie!

JA: The AI knows that this shade will make your avatar pop in the metaverse.

CH: Can you imagine the Zuckerberg avatar wearing this color? I’m going to be underdressed for the magentaverse.

VF: Actually, imagining the Zuckerberg avatar in the magentaverse fills me with cheer. It’s a step up from those gray T-shirts, anyway.

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I am a paramedic trying to answer your 999 calls. Let me tell you about life in the NHS twilight zone | Jake Jones



There’s a corridor at my local hospital that has become very familiar to me. It runs from the ambulance entrance to the initial assessment area in A&E. Patients sit in a line on wipe-clean chairs underneath posters about hand hygiene and mask-wearing. I think of this corridor as the twilight zone, a place where time evaporates, because this is where ambulance crews are now waiting for hours, day and night, Monday to Sunday, with their patients on trolleys to be called into the emergency department to hand over.

The news that ambulance crews are experiencing delays at hospital of up to 40 hours is shocking. Every year we hear about the latest challenges facing the NHS, but these problems are now so common they feel routine. We used to talk about winter pressures, but those pressures now seem to be year-round. When I started in the ambulance service more than a decade ago, I would expect to see nine patients in a shift, allowing for journey times, assessment, treatment and handover; that figure is now more likely to be six – on a good day.

The consequences for patients are clear: physical discomfort, emotional distress and the potential for deterioration. Critically ill patients are brought into hospital on blue lights and with a pre-alert to ensure they’re seen immediately, but there are plenty with non-life-threatening conditions for whom that wait in the corridor, or on the back of an ambulance, will have insidious consequences, such as delayed recovery. The reality is that these same patients have probably experienced long waits for the ambulance to arrive in the first place, because crews delayed in hospital corridors mean fewer resources available to respond.

It’s sometimes suggested that ambulances should be able to offload their patients into an intermediate monitoring zone while they wait to gain access to A&E. This strategy is used in some hospitals, and has the benefit of freeing up ambulances to become available again, but it effectively creates another cohort of patients waiting to be seen – without any extra staff – and when the ambulance crew return with their next patient, the same issue recurs.

In some areas, ambulances are instructed to bring patients to quieter hospitals to improve flow: the theory is to spread demand and reduce waiting times, though the system tends to be unpopular with patients, who can end up being taken to locations far from home. For ambulance crews out on the road, such measures feel like well-intentioned tweaks, rather than a genuine attempt to address the central problem: a lack of capacity.

A new NHS ambulance handover unit at Southend University hospital.
A new NHS ambulance handover unit at Southend University hospital. Photograph: John Keeble/Getty Images

There are some causes for optimism. Since the pandemic, clinicians from different areas of the health service are more familiar with each other’s roles, meaning it’s now easier for ambulance crews to refer their patients to services in primary care and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. Alongside this, new clinical pathways have been developed, such as same-day emergency care services, which filter appropriate patients away from A&E and into targeted clinics. Sometimes it takes time for the benefits of such changes to become apparent.

Recent reports have highlighted the impact of delayed discharges. The temptation is to conclude that patients should be packaged up and discharged as soon as they’re fit, but the scale of this undertaking only becomes clear when you see patients in the community. This week I attended an elderly woman who’d been discharged home after a fall and surgery on a fractured hip. Yet the necessary support and equipment had not been arranged prior to discharge, and as a result the patient, who lived alone, ended up being readmitted to hospital until appropriate arrangements could be made.

With government recently announcing an injection of discharge funding for hospitals in England, it’s worth remembering that the social situation a patient is discharged home to is often the same one that triggered a hospital admission in the first place.

The emergency healthcare system may be a victim of its own accessibility. Ambulance services in England have accepted the increase of low-acuity calls they receive and now operate as providers of both emergency and urgent care, taking just 51% of patients to A&E in October, while resolving 33% of incidents on scene and 12% via telephone. Emergency departments have experienced similar behavioural changes, with 24.4 million A&E attendances in England in the year 2021-22, and 47% of those attendances by under-35s.

Many patients now choose to self-present at A&E over GP attendance – perhaps due to problems getting an appointment, perhaps through a lack of awareness of available services, perhaps through simple convenience. But, just as ambulance services now struggle to meet the needs of their sickest patients due to the encroachment on the emergency system of patients with minor complaints, it’s easy to see why understaffed A&Es are struggling to cope with demand.

As the NHS prepares to face a uniquely challenging winter, it’s incumbent on those in power to ensure that such vital services are sufficiently funded and clinicians are properly supported, so that patients are not left waiting in the twilight zone.

  • Jake Jones is the pseudonym of a paramedic and the author of Can You Hear Me? An NHS Paramedic’s Encounters with Life and Death

  • Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

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