Barack Obama seen dancing without a mask on at party
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The former US President has drawn criticism for not wearing a mask at his 400-person birthday party in Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday as the Covid Delta variant rapidly spreads in the US. In an Instagram video posted by American singer-songwriter Erykah Badu, Barack Obama posed and danced with guests without any coronavirus restrictions in place. Mr Obama had previously claimed the party would be “scaled-back”.
Twitter users reacted furiously to images of Mr Obama’s party where staff were seen to be wearing face masks.
One wrote: “If Obama can have hundreds of unmasked people over for a birthday party, then regular people shouldn’t have to wear masks either.”
Another added: “I didn’t see anyone wearing masks at Obama’s super spreader birthday party at his $12 million mansion on Martha’s Vineyard!”
A third person said: “I’m not mad that Obama had a party. I’m mad that the rules don’t apply to them.”
New York Times reporter Annie Karni has defended President Obama party and claimed it was a low-risk event.
She told CNN: “‘This has really been overblown, they’re following all the safety precautions, people are going to sporting events that are bigger than this, this is going to be safe, this is a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd and this is just about optics it’s not about safety.”
The party, which had a guest list of more than 500 people, was “scaled-back” amid fears over the spread of the delta variant.
The guests were all to be tested for the coronavirus and advised to be fully vaccinated before attending.
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US President Joe Biden said on Friday that COVID-19 cases will go up before they come down and that the new Delta variant is taking a needless toll on the country.
“Cases are going to go up before they come back down,” Biden said in a White House remarks.
“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
There are early signs that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to transmit the Delta variant of the virus as easily as those who have not, scientists at Public Health England (PHE) said on Friday.
The findings chime with those from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week raised concerns that vaccinated people infected with Delta could, unlike with other variants, readily transmit it.
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The highly infectious Delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus type globally, sustaining a pandemic that has already killed more than 4.4 million people, including over 130,000 in Britain.
Vaccines have been shown to provide good protection against severe disease and death from Delta, especially with two doses, but there is less data on whether vaccinated people can still transmit it to others.
“Some initial findings … indicate that levels of virus in those who become infected with Delta having already been vaccinated may be similar to levels found in unvaccinated people,” PHE said in a statement.
“This may have implications for people’s infectiousness, whether they have been vaccinated or not. However, this is early exploratory analysis, and further targeted studies are needed to confirm whether this is the case.”
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