Famed civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his wife have been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. Jackson, 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, according to a statement released by their son Jonathan Jackson.
“Doctors are currently monitoring the condition of both,” read the statement as reported by Chicago’s ABC 7. “Anyone who has been around either of them for the last five or six days should follow the CDC guidelines.”
Prayers and positive thoughts quickly filled social media, with Dr. Bernice King among the first to post.
Rev. Al Sharpton also tweeted for followers to keep the Jacksons in “our sincere and intense prayers.”
Writer Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove shared prayers for the couple. Still, he took a moment to highlight the reverend’s recent work with the Poor People’s Campaign noting the elder organizer’s multiple arrests for the cause this year alone.
As news spread, elected officials like former Rep. John Lewis’ successor Rep. Nikema Williams. She used the news also to encourage followers to get vaccinated and stay masked up to slow the spread.
Rep. Robin Kelly, serving Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, joined the chorus of thoughts and prayers. Two weeks ago, Kelly joined the Jackson at a press conference calling for action on voting rights.
Like many places across the country, Chicago has experienced a resurgence in COVID-19 cases as the delta variant continues to surge. The city reinstituted a mask mandate for the windy city that began Friday.
While Jackson was vaccinated back in January, breakthrough COVID-19 cases continue to be reported. Chicago recently crossed the threshold of 400 COVID-19 cases a day earlier in the week, according to NBC 5 Chicago.
Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19, even as immunity wanes for some. NBC News reported that Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist, recently discussed waning immunity during an interview with CNBC.
Young explained that waning immunity could impact older adults and others who were vaccinated earlier on. “There will always be a proportion of individuals who will still remain susceptible to infection and illness,” he said in an interview.
The CDC recently authorized immunocompromised individuals for a third booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna, the mRNA vaccines. Booster shots are expected to be available to all people beginning in September.
In November 2017, Jackson revealed his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. It is unclear if there are additional considerations because of the underlying condition.
Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition recently held its 55th annual convention a few weeks ago, focusing on COVID-19 and bridging the equity gap for communities of color. Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at the convention stressing the importance of vaccination and the massive battle ahead with getting the pandemic under control.
“What we’re dealing with right now is literally a metaphorical race between the SARS-CoV-2 virus … and our ability and capability of vaccinating individuals with our highly effective vaccines,” Fauci said as reported by the Chicago Suntimes.