Obama has scaled back his birthday bash due to the surge of COVID-19 infections
Former first lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday wished former President Barack Obama a happy 60th birthday, sharing a loving photo on Instagram of them with daughters Malia, 23, and Sasha, 20.
“Of all of your accomplishments, I know that being a present, loving father to our girls tops them all,” she wrote. “Thank you for never letting the weight of the world get in the way of being a wonderful husband and father. Happy 60th birthday, @BarackObama! 💕.”
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle close the Obama Foundation Summit together on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Michelle later posted Barack’s Ebony magazine cover, adding the caption, “Still turning my head after all these years. Love you, Barack! ❤️😘.” Check out the tribute post below.
President Joe Biden also wished Obama a happy birthday on Twitter, writing “Happy birthday, @BarackObama. I’m proud to call you a brother and a friend — and I’m grateful for your selfless service to this nation.”
Hillary Clinton simply tweeted, “Happy birthday, my friend.”
Piers Morgan shared a throwback photo on Instagram of himself with Obama. He captioned the pic: “Happy 60th Birthday @barackobama – hard to believe you’re only 4 years older than me, but I guess you must have a better surgeon.”
The White House confirmed earlier this week that Biden would not be attending Obama’s birthday bash at his 29-acre oceanside property in Martha’s Vineyard this weekend. As theGRIO previously reported, Obama has scaled back the event due to the surge of COVID-19 infections blamed on the delta variant of the coronavirus, his office said Wednesday.
Attendance is now limited to family and close friends. Published reports had said hundreds of celebrities, politicos, and others were expected at Obama’s sprawling house.
“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place,” Obama spokesperson Hannah Hankins said in a statement. “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.”
“President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon,” Hankins added.
A source told People that all party guests will be required to undergo COVID testing and that a medical professional will be onsite and coordinating to ensure that the birthday event stays in line with all CDC, state of Massachusetts, and area pandemic protocols.
“In lieu of gifts, guests are being asked to consider giving to programs that work to support boys and young men of color and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders,” the source said, “including the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the Girls Opportunity Alliance, or the Obama Foundation’s Global Leadership programs.”
The Obama family’s home in Martha’s Vineyard is a breathtaking estate on 29 acres with seven bedrooms and eight and a half bathrooms. They bought the house in 2019 for nearly $12M and were known to spend summers on the island even during their time in the White House.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people — including those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — resume wearing face coverings in public indoor spaces in areas of “substantial or high transmission” to protect against the delta variant.
Some states and cities also have reinstated mask requirements as infections surge around the country.
The CDC website on Wednesday listed the rate of transmission in Dukes County, Massachusetts, which includes the island of Martha’s Vineyard, as “substantial.”
This story contains additional reporting from theGRIO’s Biba Adams and the Associated Press.
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