Former President Barack Obama is trimming his birthday celebration due to the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The 44th commander-in-chief turned 60 on Wednesday (August 4) and made the decision to cut back on the party set to take place on Saturday (August 7) on Martha’s Vineyard as new cases surge across the US.
“The outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public guidelines and covid safeguards in place,” Hannah Hankins, a spokesperson for Obama said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to only include family and close friends.”
The news about the celebration comes after some questioned the optics of the event amid the spike in cases. Massachusetts had to upgrade its indoor mask guidance after a study found that three-quarters of people who contracted COVID-19 during an outbreak in Provincetown –– about 100 miles north of Martha’s Vineyard –– were fully vaccinated.
The original guest list was reportedly in the hundreds and included celebrity names like Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, and more. Before the list got cut, guests would have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in order to get into the party in an effort to follow pandemic protocols.
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