Coronavirus press conference (15 May 2020)Good afternoon and welcome to Downing Street for the daily coronavirus briefing.I’m joined by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, and by NHS England’s Medical Director for Primary Care, Dr Nikki Kanani.I want to take this chance to update you on the latest coronavirus data. 2,353,078 tests for coronavirus have now been carried out in the UK, including 133,784 tests yesterday. 236,711 people have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 3,560 since yesterday. 10,024 people are currently in hospital with coronavirus. This is a 13% fall from the same time last week.And very sadly, of those who tested positive, across all settings, 33,998 people have now died. That’s an increase of 384 since yesterday. And we mourn each one. The number of deaths is falling each day, in all settings thankfully, and we are past the peak of this virus.I want to take a moment to remind everyone about our plans for this second phase. We have set up the new COVID Alert Level System. That’s the five levels of threat – based on the R value and the number of new cases. The alert level in turn guides the social distancing rules, which are vital in our efforts to control the virus.A higher alert level means stricter rules. Throughout the lockdown, we have been at level 4 which means that Covid-19 is in general circulation and transmission is high or rising exponentially.But, thanks to your shared sacrifice, we’ve brought R down. Cautiously, carefully and responsibly, we are now in a position to start moving to level 3.We’ve set out the first of the 3 steps that we’ll take to carefully modify the social distancing rules and start to restore freedom to this country, all the while avoiding a disastrous second peak that could overwhelm the NHS.At each step, we will closely monitor the impact on R, on the number of new infections and on, of course, all available data. And we’ll only move to the next step when we judge it is safe to do so.In the first step, as of this week, if you work but can’t work from home, you should speak to your employer about going back in. People can now spend time outdoors and exercise as often as you like and you can meet 1 other person from outside your household in an outdoor, public place. But please keep 2 metres apart.This weekend, with the good weather and the new rules, I hope people can enjoy being outside but please stick with the rules, keep an eye on your family and don’t take risks.We’ve also updated what we’re asking people to do, which is to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.For the vast majority of people, staying alert still means staying at home as much as is possible. Working from home when you can, limiting contact with people, keeping your distance if you go out, 2 metres wherever possible, washing your hands regularly. This is still the single most effective thing that you can do to keep yourself safe and, of course, self-isolating if you or anyone in your household has coronavirus symptoms.By staying alert and following the rules, you can play a part in the national effort getting the R down and keeping R down, controlling the virus so that we can save lives, rebuild livelihoods and start to recover our freedom.
Today, The Smithsonian unveiled a new a Kickstarter page seeking $250,000 to help fund the nine-disc Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap. This anthology will be produced in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, plus an executive committee of hip-hop experts ranging from artists and producers, such as rappers Chuck D and MC Lyte, drummer Questlove of The Roots, and producer 9th Wonder, to industry veterans, music critics, authors, and scholars.Marking the third major anthology by the Grammy Award-winning Smithsonian Folkways Recording (which has previously created anthologies of American folk music and jazz), The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap will contain over 120 tracks released over the past four decades that showcase hip-hop as a musical, cultural, and social force in the United States and around the world. Though the track listing is not solidified, one can expect to see iconic numbers from old-school pioneers like the Sugarhill Gang as well as tracks from prominent artists of today like Kanye West and Nicki Minaj. This project is also notable, as it will be the first collection to include tracks from all of hip-hop’s major labels in addition to a number of independent record labels.The Smithsonian’s hip-hop anthology, in addition to being a non-starter for any hip-hop lover, also doubly serves as an educational tool. Across its 120 tracks, the collection will highlight “different social and political trends within the genre, such as police brutality, feminism, and Afrocentrism” in the genre, plus “provide a unique window into the many ways hip-hop has created new traditions and furthered musical and cultural traditions of the African diaspora.” The audio anthology is also accompanied by a 300-page book featuring critical essays, track-by-track notes, and never-before-published photographs fromNational Museum of African American History archives.As Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, noted in a statement, “The Kickstarter campaign to produce a hip-hop and rap anthology is one of the most important projects on contemporary history that the Smithsonian will ever undertake, because it shows that the Smithsonian’s work is as much about today and tomorrow as it is about yesterday.”He continues, “Hip-hop is a musical revolution that embodies the voice of an entire generation, and that’s why it’s important for the museum to partner with the hip-hop community and Folkways Recordings to tell this story. Hip-hop helps us to understand the power of black music and the impact of African American culture on the world.”While The Smithsonian is hopeful that it will reach its quarter-million-dollar goal for the project, the project’s organizers have also stressed that they will try to bring the project to life, even if it does not meet its funding benchmark. To incentivize fans to donate, for a pledge of $100 dollars, supporters can earn a copy of the compilation, which is scheduled to be released in December of 2018, plus an exclusive “9th Wonder Digital Remix based on Smithsonian Folkways’ catalogue.” For the maximum donation of $10,000 or more, avid supporters can earn a private tour led by Questlove of the museum.Donate to the Kickstarter for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap here.