Barack Obama plans birthday bash amid Delta variant concerns

President Barack Obama (right) is holding his 60th birthday at Martha’s Vineyard (Pictures: Facebook/AFP)

Former President Barack Obama is having a 700-person invite-only event on Martha’s Vineyard for his 60th birthday this weekend. The celebration is planned despite health officials’ concerns around the surging Covid-19 Delta variant.

The party comes after a nearby town in Massachusetts saw breakthrough cases and new mask guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, a source told Axios that the party will ensure guests will be tested.

Obama, whose birthday is on Wednesday, is holding the outdoor party at his $12million, 30-acre waterfront property. It will have at least 200 staff members and about 475 guests. 

Expected attendees include Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Steven Spielberg, according to The Hill, as well as Pearl Jam accompanied by a local hairdresser.

The event will take place near Provincetown, Massachusetts, a city where the virus infected those who were vaccinated over July 4th weekend.

According to World Population Review, nearly 3,000 residents live in Provincetown. Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment reported last Friday that 934 Covid-19 cases were associated with the Provincetown cluster as of July 29. Out of the 934 people, 560 of residents were from Massachusetts and 231 lived in Provincetown specifically, CNN reported.

About 75% of people infected with Covid-19 at public events in Massachusetts contracted it in early July and were fully vaccinated, according to The Hill.

The latest STAT analysis found that Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi are leading the US in how fast cases are accelerating, The Hill reported. The analysis also revealed that this new wave of Covid-19 infections is already outpacing those of spring and summer 2020. 

The CDC on Tuesday updated its guidance to recommend mask-wearing indoors in places that are coronavirus hot spots.

Director Francis Collins of The National Institutes of Health told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union that people should use ‘common sense’.

‘If you’re talking about a small party like I might have at my house for six or eight people who are all fully vaccinated, I do not believe, at this point, we need to put masks on to be next to each other,’ Collins said. 

‘But if there were 100 people, and, of course, how are you really going to be sure about people’s vaccination status? Then the dynamic changes a little bit. There will be some need for common sense there.’

It appears that President Joe Biden is not attending the event, but a White House spokesperson told Axios that Biden welcomed his former vice president to the ‘over-sixty club’.

In 2011, when Obama turned 50, his party had celebrities such as Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks and Chris Rock in the White House.

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