Daily US Times: Barack Obama has scaled back plans for a big birthday party, as the former US president turned 60, amid a rise in Covid infections nationwide.
Mr Obama had planned a major celebration on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts this weekend.
But as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has led to a surge in new infections, the former president has announced plans to scale back the event.
Only family and close friends will now attend.
The outdoor event on Saturday was planned months ago “in accordance with all public health guidelines”, Mr Obama’s spokesperson has said. But Obama and his wife Michelle have now decided to limit its size.
The spokesperson said: “President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”
According to media reports, hundreds of people were invited to the occasion, with rumours that director Steven Spielberg, actor George Clooney and talk show host Oprah Winfrey were all on the guest list.
But criticism about the event has grown with coronavirus infections rise.
Daily Covid infections have risen to an average not seen in months, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that masks should again be worn indoors for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated in light of rising infections.
Barack Obama and his wife had reportedly encouraged people to get tested before attending, and have repeatedly urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19.