Obama plans outdoor 60th birthday bash amid delta variant surge
Former President Barack Obama will join the sexagenarian club with an outdoor birthday bash on Martha's Vineyard this weekend as the delta variant spreads among the nation's unvaccinated, leading to the renewal of coronavirus safety protocols.
The Obamas are asking that guests be vaccinated and get coronavirus tests, news reports say.
The birthday party comes shortly after Massachusetts tweaked its face-covering guidelines for indoor settings per federal recommendations and after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that three-quarters of people infected during a coronavirus outbreak in Provincetown, Mass., charged by the delta variant were fully vaccinated.
Dukes County, home to Martha's Vineyard, has a moderate level of community transmission and is about 100 miles south of Provincetown.
A person familiar with the matter told The Washington Post that all of Obama's guests will have to provide a negative result of a coronavirus test taken in a window specified by a coronavirus coordinator to ensure that safety protocols are followed.
President Joe Biden, who was Obama's vice president, will not attend the soiree, where A-list celebrity friends are expected to gather at the nearly 30-acre oceanside estate, a White House spokesperson told Axios.
"He looks forward to catching up with former President Obama soon and properly welcoming him into the over-60 club," the spokesperson said.
The Obamas have been vocal advocates of following public health protocols and stressing the importance of vaccination.
"We all want to be with our family and friends again, and the best way to make that happen is by getting the vaccine as soon it's available to you," Michelle Obama, the former first lady, said in April.
Last week, the 44th president, a Democrat, tweeted about how the coronavirus has become more contagious, emphasizing the need for more people to become inoculated.
Despite their public stances advancing public health safety, the Obamas have drawn criticism for the birthday plans from right-leaning voices like writers Brent Bozell and Jim Hanson, who have branded the party a "super spreader" event and accused the Obamas of hypocrisy.
The former president is trying to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus among his invitees as he seeks to spread support to organizations he cares about, a person familiar with the event told The Post.
A person with knowledge of the party told Axios that 475 people have confirmed their attendance and that more than 200 staff members will work at the party.
"In lieu of gifts, guests are being asked to consider giving to programs that work to support boys and young men of color and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world, and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders including the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, the Girls Opportunity Alliance or the Obama Foundation's Global Leadership programs," a person knowledgeable about the matter told The Post.
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