Saturday, August 14, 2021


This is the lead story at Breitbart, and I'm sure your right-wing relatives are already talking about it:
Obama Variant: Martha’s Vineyard Hit with Coronavirus Spike After Superspreader Birthday Party

The island of Martha’s Vineyard experienced a spike in coronavirus cases this week after President Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party last Saturday.

The Daily Mail reports that 74 people on Martha’s Vineyard have tested positive for the virus — the highest number of cases in a week on the island since April....

The Daily Mail also reported that six staffers tested positive at the Harbor view Hotel, where some of the celebrities attending the party stayed.
So was the Obama party the reason for the uptick in cases? Let's go to that Daily Mail story:
Martha's Vineyard was already experiencing a new surge in cases when Obama, preparing to welcome 500 guests to his mansion, announced his party would be 'scaled back' amid criticism as the Delta coronavirus variant spread across the country.

In the week leading up to his party, 48 new cases were reported on the island through Saturday, double the prior week.
Right -- that's how COVID works. If you have 24 cases one week and 48 the next, a further spike is very likely. It doesn't require a major precipitating event. Here's the pre-party weekly case count, as reported in the local Vineyard Gazette:

This chart accompanies a story datelined August 9 -- two days after the Obama party. It mentions the six positive staffers at the Harbor View Hotel, "with two confirmed via PCR test and four probable cases from over-the-counter tests." Since most people don't get tested unless they develop symptoms (which invariably take a few days to show up after infection), and since results from a PCR test also generally take a couple of days, it seems highly unlikely that these staffers were infected as the result of a party that took place two days before this news story was posted.

There's no evidence that COVID is on the increase on Martha's Vineyard because of Obama's party. COVID appears to be on the increase there because many people go to there during the summer for reasons entirely unrelated to Barack Obama.

I said in an earlier post that the decision to go ahead with a scaled-back but still large Obama birthday party was feeding a right-wing propaganda narrative: that liberal elitists use COVID to restrict ordinary people's freedom while the elitists themselves do whatever the hell they want. A narrative like this doesn't have to be true to be effective as propaganda. Serious efforts were made to keep the Obama party safe -- guests were asked to be vaccinated and were required to submit proof of COVID-negative status just before the event -- but the propaganda hits keep coming. Maybe you don't think it matters what right-wing yahoos believe. But I think it's worth doing some pushback on this nonsense.

No comments: