Story at a glance:
- Former President Obama is throwing a celebration for his 60th birthday in Martha’s Vineyard.
- One source told Axios there are 475 guests and 200 staffers.
- The delta variant is currently driving a surge in COVID-19 cases, among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Former President Obama is hosting a celebration with hundreds of guests this weekend in Martha’s Vineyard for his 60th birthday party, according to Axios reporting. The bash comes as the delta variant is driving a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.
While the official guest list is not public, one source tells The Hill that Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney are among the A-listers and friends invited to the event. Pearl Jam is also set to play, according to Axios.
Axios reports that 475 people have confirmed their attendance and 200 staffers plan to work at the party. All guests will reportedly be asked to be vaccinated and a COVID-coordinator will be onsite to ensure safety protocols are being followed. Sources tell The Hill that guests are also being asked to have a COVID-19 test before the party.
The outdoor party will be at Obama's $12 million, 30-acre waterfront property, The New York Post reports.
In Provincetown, Mass., about 100 miles north of Martha’s Vineyard, three-quarters of people infected during a coronavirus outbreak in July fueled by the delta variant were fully vaccinated, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
In July, the CDC also released an analysis that found that the delta variant now accounts for 83 percent of all sequenced cases in the U.S., according to CNBC.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Director of The National Institutes of Health Francis Collins told Jake Tapper that people should use “common sense” in regards to throwing large gatherings.
“If you’re talking about a small party like I might have at my house for six or eight people who are all fully vaccinated, I do not believe, at this point, we need to put masks on to be next to each other,” Collins said.
“But if there were 100 people, and, of course, how are you really going to be sure about people’s vaccination status?” he said.“Then the dynamic changes a little bit. There will be some need for common sense there.”
It appears that President Biden is not attending the event, but a White House spokesperson said the president welcomed Obama to the “over-sixty club.”
In 2011, when Obama turned 50, his party had celebrities such as Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks and Chris Rock in the White House.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA