Former President Barack Obama was accused by critics of causing an increase of COVID-19 cases on Martha‘s Vineyard, Massachusetts, although it remains to be seen if his recent party there played a part.
Mr. Obama celebrated his 60th birthday on Martha‘s Vineyard with many guests last Saturday, attracting scrutiny at the time for holding a big get-together while the coronavirus pandemic still rages.
Less than a week later, a report published Friday in The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, said that 74 people on Martha‘s Vineyard have tested positive for COVID-19 since the former president’s recent bash, “the most cases on the island since April.”
The article quoted a local health official who said they were unaware of any new cases of COVID-19 “connected to the Obama party” and that it was still too early to say if any such infections might emerge.
Critics of the Democrat quickly laid blame regardless.
Trump administration member Sebastian Gorka shared the Mail’s article on Twitter, adding: “Thanks Obama.”
Georgia Log Cabin Republicans shared the same article on the social media service along with a question: “Was Obama‘s birthday a super-spreader event?”
“Obama’s party was a super spreader event,” declared Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson, a conspiracy theorist with a popular Twitter account previously amplified by former President Donald Trump.
Stephen L. Miller, another verified Twitter user with a wide reach on the social media service, reacted to a post about the Martha‘s Vineyard cases by claiming Mr. Obama has “Blood on his hands.”
Steve Cox, an independent running to represent California’s 39th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, said on Twitter of Mr. Obama: “He‘s a real d—k.”
Hundreds of people were previously reported to have been invited to the event on Martha‘s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod where the Obamas bought property after his presidency ended.
Mr. Obama‘s party was greatly scaled back days before it happened over concerns about the nationwide spike in cases of COVID-19, the infectious respiratory disease the novel coronavirus causes, however.
“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place,” Obama spokesperson Hannah Hankins told the Associated Press recently.
Mr. Obama still faced criticism after photos and videos leaked showing attendees partying maskless, although people generally do not need to wear face masks outdoors, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Daily Mail quoted Maury Valley, a health official for Tisbury, a town on Martha’s Vineyard, as saying local authorities were unaware of any COVID-19 cases connected to the Obama party as of Friday.
“It’s a little too early and the only way we’re going to know is through comprehensive contact tracing,” said the spokesperson, according to the article.