The former American president, Barack Obama, decided to cancel a controversial birthday party scheduled for this week, the most recent symbol of the setback in the US reopening generated by cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
Obama turns 60 on Wednesday, Aug. 4, and has an event for hundreds of people scheduled for the weekend.
But a spokeswoman for the former president told the site today Insider that the celebration will now be smaller, just for a few close friends, in a restaurant.
The spokeswoman said the party had been planned “months ago” in accordance with the rules then in effect. However, in recent weeks, state governments across the country have been reinstating restrictions to prevent further contagion from the delta variant.
“Due to the spread of the delta variant in the last week, President and Mrs Obama have decided to significantly reduce the event,” said spokeswoman Hannah Hankins.
Even before the cancellation, the party had already been criticized. Key figures also said they would not attend, such as President Joe Biden himself, who was Obama’s deputy during his term between 2009 and 2016.
The party was initially scheduled for next Saturday, August 7th, in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts island which is one of the most famous vacation destinations in the USA.
A few days ago, the Axios website had stated that the party included protocols such as requiring proof of vaccination or a negative covid-19 test.
the delta threat
Since early July, the seven-day moving average of daily new cases in the US has jumped from 13,000 to more than 90,000 confirmed.
More of 90% of new covid-19 cases analyzed are already of the delta variant, according to official data compiled by the website Our World In Data, from the University of Oxford.
The number of new deaths, fortunately, did not rise at the same rate, following below 400 deaths a day, which experts point out is probably an effect of the vaccination.
More than 9 out of 10 cases of hospitalization or death from covid-19 in the US occurred in patients who were not fully vaccinated, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
but though there are vaccines left in the country, the number of fully vaccinated adults (over 18 years old) is only 61% of the population. If the entire population is included, the rate drops to 50%.
New studies have shown that covid-19 vaccines, while preventing most severe cases of the disease, do not prevent an infected with the Delta variant from transmitting the virus to someone else. Since there are regions where only half the population is vaccinated, the information is worrying for the control of the pandemic in the USA.
In Brazil, the share of fully vaccinated is 20% of the population.
Yesterday, New York became the first major city to require proof of vaccination for citizens to enter restaurants, movie theaters or gyms, and a number of cities and states have again required masks.
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