Former President Barack Obama has been forced to cancel one of his planned trips due to “COVID-like symptoms.”
A scheduled visit to Harvard on Wednesday had to be called off because the former president was reportedly experiencing the symptoms, according to the Applied Social Media Lab in Cambridge which posted an update on social media. The news comes out as new concerns emerge of a resurgence of COVID right before the 2024 presidential election.
Obama, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 199, was set to visit the “Future of the Internet Summit” at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society in the launch of the new lab.
“The president woke up this morning with COVID-like symptoms,” Applied Social Media Lab said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Out of an abundance of caution, he is not attending his public events today. The Summit is continuing as planned featuring his Senior Advisor on Technology, Jason Goldman,” the message read.
UPDATE: The president woke up this morning with COVID-like symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution, he is not attending his public events today. The Summit is continuing as planned featuring his Senior Advisor on Technology, Jason @goldman
— Applied Social Media Lab (@TheLabBKC) October 18, 2023
“Unfortunately, President Obama woke up with COVID-like symptoms this morning and is not able to attend any events on his public schedule for the day,” Goldman said in a statement.
“He’s very sorry to miss this because he is deeply committed to the work of the lab and a big believer that this conversation in terms of how the future of the internet needs to evolve is timely and completely relevant for the moment that we’re in,” he added.
The launch event was touted as an opportunity to “shape the future of the internet to serve the public good.”
NEWS: We’re at a turning point for technology. That’s why President @BarackObama & @ObamaFoundation are headed to our launch event on 10/18 to discuss the moment we’re in & how we can shape the future of the internet to serve the public good. Stay tuned! https://t.co/q7iXEMqeg0 pic.twitter.com/jJkeMMcDrC
— Applied Social Media Lab (@TheLabBKC) October 13, 2023
Goldman tweeted again after the event to say it was “an honor to sit in.”
Very sorry that President Obama wasn’t able to attend this event. It was an amazing conversation with a panel of true experts working on the hardest problems and I was honored to sit in. https://t.co/mq231Hc3WE
— Jason Goldman (@goldman) October 18, 2023
There was no reported update on Obama’s symptoms or overall health.
Meanwhile, students who thought Obama would be at the university staged a “die-in” protest outside the business school, chanting “Barry, Barry you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” and “Free, free Palestine,” according to The Harvard Crimson.
A spokesperson for the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, which helped organize the protest, wrote that they believe Obama is “deeply implicated” in the “ongoing genocide” of Palestinians due to green-lighting “billions of dollars” in military aid to Israel.