Former President Obama is hosting a large gathering amid increasing public health concerns regarding the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama is throwing a birthday party for nearly 500 guests amid increasing public health concerns regarding the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant. The bash, which will be held on Massachusetts’ upscale Martha’s Vineyard vacation island, has at least 475 confirmed guests and over 200 staff working the event, according to a report from Axios. This totals to at least 675 individuals in attendance, despite the recent outbreak of breakthrough Covid cases in vaccinated vacationers in Provincetown, another popular Massachusetts summer destination.
The Provincetown outbreak, which occurred over the Fourth of July weekend, proved that there is still a high possibility of spreading the Delta variant regardless of whether or not someone is vaccinated. The CDC has since modified its stance on masking protocols, and various cities have either reinstated mask mandates or, at the very least, “highly recommend” masking indoors in public.
A source told Axios that guests are required to get tested for Covid prior to the party. Axios also reported that the gathering is set to be held outdoors, that all guests must be vaccinated atop testing and that there will be a “Covid-coordinator” in attendance, ensuring “all proper protocols are followed.”
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What’s more, Martha’s Vineyard is currently not considered a “substantially-high” risk location in terms of Covid transmission. The CDC’s newest guidelines, encouraging mask use in public, specifically pertains to high-risk areas, meaning Obama is not technically defying their guidance as some critics claim.
Still, several people are concerned about the event, some concerned it could become a “super-spreader.” Others insist it isn’t, however, due to it being held outside and other Covid protocols in place.
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A White House spokesperson told Axios that current U.S. President Joe Biden will not be in attendance. “President Biden is unable to attend this weekend, he looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon and properly welcoming him into the over-sixty club,” they said, providing no further comment regarding public health concerns.
Obama has requested donations to “to programs that work to support boys and young men of color and their families” in lieu of gifts.