According to US media, Barack Obama cancels his birthday party to be held next Saturday, he had 475 guests; however, the rebound of Covid-19 cases linked to the delta variant, would have been decisive for the former president to limit attendance at the meeting.
Barack Obama “cancels” his birthday party; from nearly 500 guests to family only
Plans for former U.S. President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party had been months in the making and many guests had already arrived on the exclusive Martha’s Vineyard island in Massachusetts when Obama belatedly announced that he would “cancel” the large gathering scheduled for Saturday.
“Due to the new spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends,” said Hannah Hankins, spokeswoman for the former resident, in a statement released Wednesday morning.
Hundreds of former Obama administration officials, celebrities and Democratic donors had planned to attend the party at Obama’s island mansion.
Many guests were already on their way and others were scheduling the required anti-Covid tests, the results of which they had to send to a medical “coronavirus coordinator” to gain entry to Obama’s compound.
Actor George Clooney, director Steven Spielberg and host Oprah Winfrey were among the 475 people who had received invitations to the lavish celebration.
Obama’s belated change of plans came days after President Joe Biden admitted that the pandemic had “thunderously” returned to the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an internal document that the Delta variant was far more contagious and more likely to limit anti-Covid vaccines.
Obama, however, at first seemed eager to go ahead with his plans, showing what some saw as casual disregard for his birthday party.
Even as cities like Washington re-imposed the use of mouth covers indoors, a source involved in planning the former president’s birthday party said the event would go ahead as planned, stressing that it would be outdoors and that all guests would follow CDC public health protocols.