News & Politics

Can We Really Blame the Surge in Martha's Vineyard COVID Cases on the Obama Party Yet?

Can We Really Blame the Surge in Martha's Vineyard COVID Cases on the Obama Party Yet?
AP Photo/Michael Sohn

While we can all agree that the maskless Obama birthday bash was the epitome of the COVID hypocrisy that has plagued the Democratic Party since the pandemic started, recent reports linking the party to a surge in cases in Martha’s Vineyard are, in my opinion, premature.

“The star-studded affair was a confirmed ‘super spreader’ event, putting countless lives at risk and further cementing Obama’s reputation as a narcissistic war criminal,” reported the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday. “According to data compiled by the New York Times, COVID-19 infections in Dukes County, Mass., which contains Martha’s Vineyard, have spiked in the days since Obama’s selfish display of clout. Cases have increased 1,829 percent over the last two weeks, while hospitalizations have jumped 157 percent.”

On Friday, the Daily Mail also reported that at least 74 people on Martha’s Vineyard have tested positive for COVID since the party—the most cases since April.

Obama’s birthday bash was Saturday, August 7th. According to the CDC, “The estimated incubation period is between 2 and 14 days with a median of 5 days.” So, with that in mind, it seems too early to be linking any surge in cases on Martha’s Vineyard to the actual party. That’s not to say there won’t be, but the part itself is likely not the culprit… yet.

For starters, Martha’s Vineyard was experiencing a surge before the party anyway—the aforementioned New York Times data show that cases have been trending upward since late July. So, while the party itself may not be reflected in the data, I would argue that pre-party preparations could have been. A party of that size takes a while to get ready for. The tent in which it was held was as big as the Obamas’ $12 million waterfront estate sitting adjacent to it. So, staffers, party planners, security, etc., were probably on-site preparing for this thing well in advance. Could that have contributed to the surge in cases? For sure. But, we likely won’t find out how much of an impact the actual party had on cases in Martha’s Vineyard for at least another week.

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And, of course, there’s the impact of Obama’s out-of-town guests. These beautiful people from across the country who went maskless at the party, if exposed to COVID, certainly exposed others wherever they went to in the days following the party. I’m sure that the Obama birthday party was not the first event they failed to follow CDC guidelines for.

So, make no mistake about it: It’s still too early to know what impact the actual party had on COVID cases. “At this time we’re not aware of any cases connected to the Obama party,” Tisbury health agent and boards of health spokesperson Maura Valley told “It’s a little too early and the only way we’re going to know is through comprehensive contact tracing.”

I have no doubt there will be a significant number of cases linked to the party soon enough, but, as of right now, it’s just too early to say the party has been “confirmed” as a superspreader event.

Will it be? If I were a gambling man, I’d certainly bet on it. But, for now, let’s not count our chickens before they hatch.