Did Obama's maskless birthday bash cause Covid spike? Martha's Vineyard sees highest-ever cases
Barely two weeks after former President Barack Obama's 60th birthday celebration, Martha's Vineyard is struggling to deal with "highest virus patient activity" ever. With over 158 new cases since the Obama birthday bash on August 7, the island is experiencing the largest number of cases since the start of the pandemic. Last week, 87 new cases were reported while another 71 cases were diagnosed further this week.
Even with a truncated number of guests and scaled-down celebrations, Barack Obama's 60th birthday bash on August 7 at their Martha's Vineyard estate saw a maskless, star-studded event. The guest list originally included over 500 invitees, in gross violation of CDC guidelines amid the rise in Delta Variant cases across the country. Even after claiming his 60th birthday party would be scaled back to include “only family and close friends", an array of celebrities were seen arriving on Martha’s Vineyard on Friday, August 6 ahead of the party. Celebs like John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Oprah, Don Cheadle, Stephen Colbert, H.E.R, Dwayne Wade, John Kerry and others were spotted in leaked photos. An arena on the island was set up with a massive tent flanked by smaller staging tents.
According to chief nurse and head of hospital operations Clair Seguin, "The hospitalizations mark the highest amount of Covid-positive patient activity we've had since the onset of the pandemic." Currently, three patients are admitted with COVID-19 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, while another patient had to be airlifted to Boston in critical condition. Though the number of hospitalized patients is relatively low, health officials admit that it is a "very busy time" at the emergency room of the hospital, which is the only health facility in Dukes County. "We're bursting at the seams," admitted hospital CEO Denise Schepici.
However, the health officials have not confirmed any connection between the latest spike in cases and Barack Obama's birthday bash. "As of today I haven't seen any cases linked to the Obama party. We still have contact tracing going on, but I think if there were cases popping up from the party we'd be seeing them already," Tisbury health agent Maura Valley told DailyMail.
Mask mandate was reinstated on the island this week in indoor public spaces amid the unprecedented surge in cases. However, even with the attendance of nearly 300 to 400 guests, including the whos who of Hollywood, viral photos from the Obama birthday celebrations showed the party to be largely maskless. Many of the VIP guests flew in early by private jet and stayed in Edgartown, which now happens to be the epicenter of Covid-19 resurgence in the island.