With or without a global pandemic, Barack Obama apparently wasn’t prepared to let his 60th birthday go by without some kind of a celebration. The Obamas were expected to mark today’s milestone birthday with an outdoor party on Saturday, which would have gathered several hundred of the former president’s friends, family and former staff members at their home in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. However early on Wednesday morning a spokesperson for the president announced the event had been “significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends” – following a significant media backlash that such an event was to continue as Covid-19 cases suddenly spiked in the US. 5 times Malia Obama proved she’s just as smart as her parents According to media reports A-listers including Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Spielberg and George Clooney were on the original guest list, while The Roots, John Legend and Common were among the musical acts speculated to offer entertainment. Even before the “scale back”, all the original 475 expected attendees were required to adhere to all Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) public health protocols, including a testing regimen managed by a Covid-19 coordinator – but such a celebration still stroke observers as tone deaf amid a global pandemic. I’m also turning 60 this month … I’m vaccinated and cancelled a party of four Laurie Wiegler, Twitter user Concerns about Covid-19 transmission were reignited in recent weeks after the Delta coronavirus variant caused a sharp spike in cases. For the first time in more than three months, cases in the US average more than 60,000 per day, according to analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. The Obamas have been strong advocates for the vaccine, emphasising “the need and the urgency of our communities getting vaccinated” in a video with Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley in April, after getting vaccinated themselves one month earlier. “Now, as the vaccine becomes more available, I want to make sure that our communities, particularly ones – African-American, Latino – as well as young people understand that this will save lives and allow people to get their lives back to normal,” Obama said at the time. “The sooner we get more people vaccinated the better off we’re going to be.” Is Sasha the coolest Obama of all? Drake seems to think so The backlash Concerns about the safety of Obama’s birthday gathering circulated on social media on Monday, following last week’s CDC recommendation that people in Covid-19 hotspots resume mask-wearing in indoor public spaces. Obama’s event was to held outdoors near or at the family’s Martha’s Vineyard home, with all invitees were required to follow CDC public health protocols, including a testing regimen. Negative tests were also expected from all guests. Martha’s Vineyard does not currently qualify as an area of “substantially high” risk according to CDC standards. The Massachusetts Department of Health updated its guidance on Friday to advise fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. An advisory issued last week in Martha’s Vineyard mandates masks for indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. I'm also turning sixty this month. Big @BarackObama fan but am shocked to hear about the #birthdaypartyof 500-plus at Martha’s Vineyard. I'm vaccinated and canceled a party of four. #Obamassixtieth — Laurie Wiegler (@WriterWeegs) August 2, 2021 Some users on social media had criticised Obama for organising an event during a pandemic – which may have prompted the presidential rethink. “I’m also turning sixty this month. Big @BarackObama fan but am shocked to hear” about the birthday party, wrote user @WriterWeegs, who added that she is “vaccinated and cancelled a party of four”. One user noted that despite the implemented health guidelines, “the optics on this are horrible.” All guests will be asked to be vaccinated and there will also be a “COVID coordinator” to ensure safety protocols are followed. Still the optics on this are horrible. We're still in a pandemic. — Marc G 🇧🇧 🇨🇦 (@emarceg) August 2, 2021 “We’re still in a pandemic,” wrote user @emarceg. R.E. S. P. E. C. T: Michelle and Barack Obama’s dating advice for Malia The guest list No official guest list was released, but President Joe Biden was not expected to attend even before the scale back. Big-name celebrities including Beyoncé, Ellen DeGeneres, Usher and John Legend attended Obama’s 55th birthday celebration at the White House in 2016. Celebrities including Samuel L. Jackson, Smokey Robinson and Jay-Z also made appearances at former first lady Michelle Obama ’s 50th party in 2014. No gifts please In lieu of gifts, the Obamas had encouraged guests to donate to programmes that work to support youth, such as My Brother’s Keeper, which helps young men of colour; the Girls Opportunity Alliance, which empowers adolescent girls around the world; or the Obama Foundation’s Global Leadership programmes, which aim to equip the next generation of emerging leaders. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .