Barack Obama was ready to have hundreds of his homeboys and homegirls for his 60th birthday bash in Martha’s Vineyard, but the new Delta variant was like, “Naw, bitch. Take y’all happy asses back in the house.”
The Delta variant is considered more contagious and is likely to increase risk of hospitalization and the disease, according to an internal document from the CDC. What is more troubling is that the CDC estimates that while most new infections stem from those who are unvaccinated, 35,000 fully vaccinated Americans out of more than 162 million may get infected with coronavirus—weekly.
So now, the ex-president’s party has now been scaled back.
Hundreds of former staffers, donors and celebrities were scheduled to attend Obama’s celebration this Saturday, including George Clooney, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, according to the New York Times.
“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 include only family and close friends,” Hannah Hankins, a spokeswoman for the former president, said in a statement Wednesday morning, per the Times. “He’s appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”
Obama had planned to hold the party even as the Delta variant was raging throughout the country. Guests were going to submit negative tests for COVID-19 and had to be vaccinated. But eventually, the party plans were scrapped. That was probably the best move, as it shows the country that Obama is still thinking about the public health of America.
We can’t say that for Republicans. They are too busy blaming China for the origins of COVID-19 and passing legislation to ban mask mandates. As CNN reports, some Republicans, like Kay Ivey of Alabama and Jim Justice of West Virginia, are finally pushing their residents to get tested. But that shift is a bit too late for most of the country because the new variant has taken hold. The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Democrats are much more likely to report being vaccinated than Republicans. Florida and Texas account for one-third of the nationwide cases; both of those state’s governors have refused to honor guidelines for combating the disease.
We are not back to normal and Obama’s decision to scale back his birthday bash shows he has enough sense to signal as much to the rest of the country he used to run.