Barack Obama is facing harsh criticism after the former president revealed his plans to host hundreds of guests for his upcoming 60th birthday, even as the country struggles to convince his citizen to adhere to guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the increase of cases.
Yet, according to ABC News, Obama, whose birthday is Aug. 4, maintains all guidelines, including those set at the state and local level, will be followed at the party with the assistance of a COVID coordinator.
The event is set to take place this coming weekend on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and will be held outdoors, an unidentified source told Axios, which initially reported on the details of the party. In addition, guests will be required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the coordinator before entering.
Obama’s occasion comes as the U.S. encounters a surge in cases of the delta variant of the often-deadly virus. This latest variant, named for the B.1.617.2. variant, a SARS-CoV-2 mutation that initially surfaced in India, is more contagious than any of the other strains, according to Yale Medicine. Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the CDC.
On social media, people called out the nation’s former leader’s decision to host guests amid a pandemic. Outspoken British television personality Piers Morgan was seemingly ticked off by Obama’s plans to celebrate his life; he wrote an article for the Daily Mail about it. He promoted the piece on Twitter, writing, “*NEW: If Trump were hosting a massive birthday party this weekend, as America reels from the Delta COVID surge, liberals would go nuts about how selfish & reckless he was being. So why does Obama get a pass?”
Another person commented, “Day after day we see more examples of the political elite doing what they want as they restrict our freedoms. Shame on us for letting this continue.”
Though some appeared to express a sense of indifference given the well-documented lackluster response to the COVID pandemic from other politicians.
“Right-wing b-tching about Obama having a birthday party at Martha’s Vineyard (he’s asking everyone to be vaccinated), but praise Govs Abbott and DeSantis who don’t give a f-ck if their constituents die because this is ‘Merica,” wrote a third.
Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island accessible only by boat or plane, does not qualify as a “substantially high” risk area, which was the target of the CDC recommendations. However, a significant breakout of COVID-19 cases occurred about 100 miles away in Provincetown, which left over 800 people infected, resulting in at least seven hospitalizations. Officials said 74 percent of those in the infected Provincetown cluster were vaccinated.