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Obama walks back on massive 60th birthday party in favor of smaller event for family and friends after criticism

Obama walks back on massive 60th birthday party in favor of smaller event for family and friends after criticism
Former US president Barack Obama has reversed his decision to hold a massive 60th birthday party with up to 700 guests, citing concerns over the Delta variant of Covid-19, after the plan sparked controversy.

A spokesperson for Obama said in a statement that though the “outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with Covid safeguards in place,” it will now be scaled back to a much smaller celebration.

“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,” the spokesperson revealed, concluding that Obama “is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”

Also on rt.com ‘What happened to mask mandates?’: Obama ignores pandemic, plans celebrity-filled birthday bash with hundreds

Despite Obama recently warning that Covid-19 “has gotten more contagious” due to variants of the virus, it was reported this week that the former president – who turned 60 on Wednesday – was expecting nearly 500 guests and 200 staff members to attend the 60th birthday celebration this weekend at his $12 million Martha's Vineyard home.

Guests were reportedly set to include A-list celebrities such as Hollywood star George Clooney and television host Oprah Winfrey, and the 90s rock band Pearl Jam was set to perform. It was further reported that attendees would be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test and that the party would be held outside.

News of the party, however, led to criticism from American social media users who alleged hypocrisy and double standards for the wealthy and powerful since large gatherings have routinely been discouraged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

One caterer involved with the event had also called the plan “insane” in an interview with the New York Post, saying it was “a nightmare to pull off this time of year on the tiny island – especially due to the lack of labor because of the coronavirus.”

“What is he thinking?” the caterer questioned.

Politicians and the media have consistently warned about so-called “superspreader events,” large gatherings that could cause Covid-19 to spread rapidly throughout the population due to the large number of attendees and limited social distancing.

Former president Donald Trump's rallies were repeatedly criticized and branded superspreader events, as were protests against lockdown restrictions, however, other protests and events such as Black Lives Matter riots and LGBT Pride marches escaped such categorization.

Also on rt.com New York becomes first US city to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination for indoor dining, gyms, & performances

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