UPDATED: 11:15 a.m. ET, July 19, 2022
If anyone thought the COVID-19 pandemic had died down, think again.
A major coronavirus wave is sweeping across parts of the country, thanks to the uber-contagious BA.5 variant that public health officials claim is responsible for the surge. And yes, statistics show that COVID-19 is still disproportionately affecting Black people.
The combination of the above has resulted in two Capitol Hill mainstays recently becoming infected with the virus, according to reports.
On Tuesday, Democratic Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson — who has been busy serving as Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol — announced that he had contracted COVID-19.
Thompson said he was diagnosed on Monday and was “experiencing mild symptoms,” which he attributed to being fully vaccinated and boosted. He said he would be “isolating for the next several days” and encouraged Americans to follow pandemic guidelines.
One day later, Democratic Florida Congresswoman and current U.S. Senate candidate Val Demings also announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and, like Thompson, was “isolating with mild symptoms.”
After months of seeing the coronavirus ravage other parts of the world, COVID-19’s widespread effect on the U.S. has increasingly hit home for many Americans as states see as a continuous stream of people become diagnosed with the respiratory illness that turned into a global pandemic. And after a brief spate of the fake news that Black people were somehow immune to contracting the coronavirus, a steady and troubling number of Black folks — including those who are notable and famous — have not only since been diagnosed but many have also died of complications from it.
Thompson’s and Demings’ diagnoses were not only the latest indication that the coronavirus hasn’t gone anywhere but also that Black folks remain disproportionately susceptible to COVID-19.
When the pandemic first hit, it was believed that the elderly with underlying health conditions were most at risk. And while that remains true, there has recently been a surge of cases involving younger age groups — thanks in no small part to the delta variant — and people who had no pre-existing health conditions before their COVID-19 diagnoses.
Throughout it all, Black people, in particular, have remained a constant fixture among those who have been diagnosed with or died of complications from the coronavirus as friends and family grieve their loved ones across the country.
One of the first clearest indications that Black people could indeed contract the coronavirus came last year when COVID-19 began to affect players in the NBA, a professional sports league that is made up of more than 74 percent of players who are Black. After that came announcements from celebrities who offered cautionary tales to the public about how they may have contracted the illness and ways to prevent others from repeating their errors.
The nation’s system of prisons and jails has also been affected, leaving the disproportionate number of Black inmates increasingly susceptible to the coronavirus. That was especially true in New York, including at the infamous Rikers Island complex where CBS News reported that at one point last year, the coronavirus infection rate was “more than seven times higher than the rate citywide and 87 times higher than the country at large.”
In addition, the nation’s police departments were at risk for the same reasons as the jails and prisons.
Scroll down to see a list of notable Black folks who have contracted the coronavirus as the world tries to flatten the global curve of cases to restore some semblance of societal normalcy. They follow in alphabetical order.
1. Eric Adams, New York City MayorSource:Getty
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on April 10, 2022, became the latest public official to come down with COVID-19 after a number of other politicians had recently met the same fate.
Adams announced he had tested positive for the virus and credited his vaccination and booster shots for the “minimal” symptoms he tweeted that he was experiencing.
The announcement from Adams came days after he delivered a speech at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network Convention in New York City, came as public health experts warned that a new wave of the coronavirus was on the horizon following a nationwide plunge in COVID-19 rates.
2. Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of DefenseSource:Getty
Austin said he went to go get checked out after he began showing symptoms, which he said were mild. He said on Twitter that his fully vaccinated status meant that his symptoms would remain mild. Austin also encouraged others to get vaccinated, saying in part that the “vaccines work.”
3. Davante Adams, NFL playerSource:Getty
NFL star receiver Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021. As a result, the Packers have placed Adams on its reserve/COVID-19 list. Adams said he has been fully vaccinated, indicating that a breakthrough case of COVID-19 caused his diagnosis.
Adams joined Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who was already quarantining after he recently tested positive for the virus.
4. Gil Bailey, radio pioneer
Gil Bailey, the radio broadcaster and personality known as “The G0dfather” died April 13, 2020. His death came from complications after contracting the coronavirus, according to Jamaica Observer. The native Jamaican rose to prominence on radio stations with Caribbean music programming in the New York City area.
5. Rev. William BarberSource:Getty
The Rev. William Barber has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a press release emailed to NewsOne on the night of Jan. 5, 2022. The 58-year-old national president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival said in a statement that he was experiencing mild symptoms, which he credited to being fully vaccinated. Barber said he was quarantining and encouraged people to get vaccinated and boosted.
“Even as we take every possible precaution to prevent the spread of this virus, new and extremely contagious variants emerge,” Barber said in part. “Throughout this pandemic I have noted that poor and marginalized people are hurt first and worst by a public health crisis.”
6. Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist
It was unclear how Bolt contracted the coronavirus, but CNBC reported that he celebrated his 34th birthday “with a big bash mask-free.” Bolt took the COVID test the day after his party and soon learned he had contracted the respiratory disease.
“Just to be safe I quarantined myself and just taking it easy,” he said.
7. Sen. Cory BookerSource:Getty
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19. His announcement came as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus raged across the country as well as around the world. Booker made the disclosure on Dec. 19, 2021, via a post on Twitter. He credited his vaccination status with alleviating symptoms.
“I learned today that I tested positive for COVID-19 after first feeling symptoms on Saturday. My symptoms are relatively mild,” Booker tweeted. “I’m beyond grateful to have received two doses of vaccine and, more recently, a booster – I’m certain that without them I would be doing much worse.”
8. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayorSource:Getty
9. Jaylen Brown, NBA playerSource:Getty
Boston Celtics star forward Jaylen Brown was forced to miss the remainder of the NBA preseason games after testing positive for COVID-19. The nearly 25-year-old who is in his fifth season as a pro did not show any symptoms and was self-quarantining, according to NBC Sports.
The Boston Globe reported that Brown said he is fully vaccinated, signaling that his diagnosis was a breakthrough case. There were no immediate reports of an outbreak on the team or whether any other Celtics players of staff were taking any additional precautions.
10. Herman Cain, former presidential candidateSource:Getty
Herman Cain died July 30, 2020, at the age of 74 after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. The former presidential candidate, who was once considered by President Donald Trump for the Federal Reserve, was hospitalized in Atlanta on July 1, just two days after testing positive for COVID-19. Less than two weeks before receiving his diagnosis, Cain attended a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was surrounded by other attendees, none of whom were wearing a mask or protective gear.
11. Nick Cannon, entertainerSource:Getty
Entertainer Nick Cannon is COVID-19 positive, according to a Feb. 3, 2021 report by Variety. The 40-year-old host of “The Masked Singer” was reportedly resting at home in quarantine and temporarily stepped down from his post on the show.
12. Ben Carson, former HUD SecretarySource:Getty
If this picture of Ben Carson and his wife could tell 1,000 words, chances are the first three might be, “wear a mask.”
Carson contracted the coronavirus, officials announced Nov. 9, 2020, a little more than a week after he was seen in this photo at a Trump rally not wearing any personal protective equipment. Again, Carson is a medical doctor.
Carson “is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery,” his spokesperson told ABC News at the time.
Carson, who is also a member of the president’s coronavirus task force, announced his diagnosis after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive following a campaign event they both attended at the White House on Election Night.
13. Cedric Ceballos, former NBA player
Former NBA player Cedric Ceballos revealed on Tuesday that he has been in a hospital intensive care unit for 10 days battling COVID-19. The former Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers player asked for prayers, expressed regrets and offered his apology for anything he’s ever done to deserve being stricken with the coronavirus.
He appeared cautiously optimistic by vowing to his followers, “My fight is not done…..”
Ceballos announced on Sept. 13 that he was finally COVID-free, but he was still experiencing serious symptoms that prevented him from doing a number of things on his own, including breathing.
14. Dave Chappelle, comedianSource:Getty
Comedian Dave Chappelle was among a number of celebrities to contract the coronavirus, a reminder of the pandemic’s harsh effects on Black communities. A spokesperson confirmed his diagnosis with the Associated Press. He is said to have been asymptomatic and rested in isolation.
Since the onset of the coronavirus, Chappelle has held a series of socially distanced comedy shows in his hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio. In an episode of “My Next Guest,” with David Letterman, Chappelle said the shows have helped revitalize the tightly knit community in a time of great despair. Because of the warmer climate, Chappelle opted to move the shows to Austin, Texas.
During a 2020 November episode of “Saturday Night Live,” where Chappelle served as host, he gave a timely, yet comedic analysis of the virus.
“Do you guys remember what life was like before Covid?” he said. “I do. There was a mass shooting every week. Anyone remember that? Thank God for Covid. Someone had to lock these murderous whites up and keep them in the house.”
A series of comedic appearances at the Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin was canceled for the indefinite future.
15. Rep. Bonnie Watson ColemanSource:Getty
New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman announced her positive diagnosis on Jan. 11, 2021, days after the attack at the U.S. Capitol. Watson Coleman, a cancer survivor, shared with her followers that she believes she was exposed while members of Congress were barricaded inside the chambers. “Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive,” she tweeted.
16. Eugene Daniels, journalist
Eugene Daniels, a White House correspondent for Politico, announced that he has been battling COVID-19 for more than a week and described the symptoms he was experiencing in no uncertain terms.
17. Jacob Desvarieux, guitaristSource:Getty
Jacob Desvarieux, a guitarist with the band Kassav’, died July 30 in Guadeloupe, the New York Times reported. He was 77 years old. The reported cause of his death is complications from COVID-19.
Desvarieux is credited for co-creating a musical style called zouk “by fusing Afro-Caribbean traditions of the French Antilles with sleek electronic dance music,” according to the Times.
18. Manu Dibango, musicianSource:Getty
Manu Dibango, the legendary afro-jazz saxophonist from Cameroon known for his 1972 hit, “Soul Makossa,” died March 24, 2020, following complications from the coronavirus. He was 86.
19. Andre Dickens, Atlanta Mayor-ElectSource:Getty
Atlanta Mayor-Elect Andre Dickens has tested positive for COVID-19, the former city council president announced on Twitter. He said he used a rapid test and was awaiting results from a more definitive PCR test. In the meantime, he encouraged people to get tested as well as to get vaccinated, the latter being a status that he attributed to his own mild symptoms.
20. Dennis Dickson, NYPD employee
Dennis Dickson may not be a household name, but the longtime NYPD employee’s death is notable because he was one of a growing number of people working at the New York Police Department who tested positive for the coronavirus. Dickson, who died March 26, 2020, at the age of 62, worked for the NYPD for 14 years at headquarters. That means he could have been exposed to other members of the force.
21. Kevin Durant, NBA starSource:Getty
Kevin Durant was one of four players for the Brooklyn Nets who tested positive for the coronavirus that has also infected members of other NBA teams. The other players on the Nets who tested positive have not been identified. “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” Durant told The Athletic in an interview. “We’re going to get through this.”
22. Larry Edgeworth
Larry Edgeworth, who worked for the TV network as an audio technician for 25 years, died March 19, 2020, of complications after contracting the coronavirus. He was 61 years old. He reportedly had an existing health condition that likely exacerbated the coronavirus symptoms that led to his death.
23. Kenneth “Babyface” EdmondsSource:Getty
The world-renowned music producer announced that he and his family all tested positive for the coronavirus but survived it and beat the respiratory illness that has killed thousands of people. He made the announcement via Instagram and admitted the ordeal was “an incredibly scary thing to go through.”
24. Idris and Sabrina Dhowre Elba
After actor Idris Elba announced on March 16, 2020, that he had contracted the coronavirus. His wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, made her own announcement days later. Her disclosure prompted discussion over whether it was right to quarantine with her husband or if the two should’ve practiced social distancing.
25. Patrick Ewing, basketball legendSource:Getty
Patrick Ewing, the head coach of Georgetown University’s men’s basketball team and NBA legend, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The New York Knicks’ all-time leading scorer tweeted the announcement on May 22, 2020.
“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” the tweet said in part. “This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”
It was unclear how Ewing contracted the disease that has disproportionately affected Black people.
26. Ronald Fenty, Rihanna’s dadSource:Getty
Ronald Fenty, the father of superstar singer Rihanna, counted himself as one of the lucky survivors of the coronavirus. In 2020, he told the Sun about the unenviable experience he went through for about two weeks before he was able to recover. Rihanna, who paid for and sent dozens of ventilators to her native island Barbados, also sent one to her 66-year-old dad.
27. Vivica A. Fox, actressSource:Getty
Vivica A. Fox announced on Sept. 20, 2020, that she had tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of her hosting duties for the E! network’s live coverage of the red-carpet pre-Emmy Awards show. Fox’s co-hostess, Giuliana Rancic, also announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. It was unclear if their cases were related.
“I am terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight!” the 56-year-old actress said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I have tested positive for coronavirus. So, in an abundance of caution, I am isolating myself at home.”
28. Cori “Coco” Gauff, tennis starSource:Getty
Cori “Coco” Gauff, a teenage professional tennis phenom, on July 18, 2021, became the most recent public figure to have contracted COVID-19. The 17-year-old who is fresh off of competing in Wimbledon said her diagnosis will prevent her from playing in the upcoming Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. It would have been the neophyte’s first Olympic Games.
“I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Gauff, who made history as a 15-year-old when she beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019, wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday afternoon. “I want to wish Team USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family.”
29. Jimmy Glenn, legendary boxing trainerSource:Getty
Jimmy Glenn, the legendary boxing trainer who worked with some of the sport’s top fighters, died following complications from the coronavirus. He was 89 years old. Glenn had become a celebrated bar owner in New York City’s Times Square called Jimmy’s Corner. The Boxing Scene website reported Glenn’s death first.
30. Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the first NBA player revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19. He initially was called out for not taking coronavirus warnings seriously, considering he did things like touch the surfaces of microphones during a press conference to joke about the situation. The state health department cleared Gobert on March 27, 2020, after he completed a period of self-quarantining.
31. Whoopi GoldbergSource:Getty
Comedian and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg has tested positive for COVID-19 over the holidays. She was forced to miss a taping of “The View” on Jan. 3, 2021, because of her diagnosis, co-host Joy Behar announced to the studio audience. Behar said Goldberg was experiencing mild symptoms because she has been vaccinated and received a booster shot.
32. Louis Gossett Jr., actor, philanthropistSource:Getty
The legendary actor Louis Gossett Jr. was diagnosed with COVID-19 but left a local Georgia hospital out of fear, according to a report from TMZ. Gossett, then-84, was recovering at home under the care of his son. He told TMZ, “Please wear masks, social distance, isolate, pray and listen within. We cannot survive without one another.”
33. Lee Green, former college hoops star
Lee Green’s name is not known widely, but the former college basketball star for St. John’s University is notable here because of his death on March 23, 2020, at the relatively young age of 49 following complications from the coronavirus. His age was especially important as it upends the narrative that older and elderly people were the ones dying from the respiratory illness.
34. Charles Gregory, Tyler Perry’s makeup artrist
“Mr. Charles Gregory was a hairstylist that had worked with” Tyler Perry “for many years” before he died April 8, 2020, after he “lost his battle with COVID-19,” the filmmaker wrote on Instagram.
35. Tamron Hall, journalistSource:Getty
Talk show host and journalist Tamron Hall announced on April 29, 2022, that she has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the New York Post, which reportedly obtained a letter written to her co-workers disclosing her condition. Hall, who hosts her eponymous daily talk show, said she was not experiencing any symptoms and that her husband and son have tested negative.
“I am following CDC guidelines, staying home and taking every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety,” Hall, 51, reportedly wrote in the email to her show’s staff.
36. Lewis Hamilton, Formula One driverSource:Getty
The seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 30, 2020, and announced he would sit out the upcoming Sakhir Grand Prix. Hamilton was tested three times in the week prior, all of which resulted in negative results. He isolated, complying with the COVID-19 health protocols in Bahrain.
37. Samuel Hargress Jr., owner of legendary Harlem nightclub
Samuel Hargress Jr., the owner and operator of legendary New York City jazz and blues nightclub, Paris Blues, died following complications after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 83 years old. Hargress opened the club in 1969 and ran it for 51 years. The Harlem Bespoke blog reported his death.
38. Barry Harris, pioneering jazz pianistSource:Getty
Renowned jazz musician, composer and educator Barry Harris, who is largely credited with pioneering the genre’s bebop style, died on Dec. 8. He was 91 years old. WBGO reported that the cause of his death was complications from COVID-19.
“One of the leading musicians to emerge from Detroit’s modern jazz explosion in the 1940s and ’50s, Harris remained indefatigable into his early 90s,” WBGO wrote before adding later: “Harris channeled the language and spirit of bebop’s founding fathers — alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk — through his own foxy wit, vivid harmonic imagination and distinctive rhythmic rumble.”
39. Conan Harris, Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s husbandSource:Getty
Rep. Ayanna Pressley‘s husband Conan Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 12, 2021, days after he was placed in lockdown with his wife during the mob attack on Capitol Hill last week. Harris is one of several people infected inside the Capitol due to members of Congress who refused to wear masks.
40. Kamala Harris, U.S. Vice PresidentSource:Getty
The White House announced on April 26 that U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris had tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement made Harris, the nation’s first Black and woman vice president, the latest public official to come down with the coronavirus after a number of other politicians have recently met the same fate.
Harris is vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 but would still isolate herself until she tests negative, the Associated Press reported. The White House said Harris was not experiencing any symptoms and would conduct her work remotely. President Joe Biden had not had “close contact” with Harris in recent days before the positive test, the White House added.
41. Antoine Hodge, opera singerSource:GoFundMe
Antoine Hodge, a respected and celebrated opera singer, died from COVID-19 on Feb. 22. He was 38-years-old. Hodge recently appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s 2019 production of “Porgy and Bess.”
“My brother had opera singers’ lungs, and COVID destroyed them,” his sister told The New York Times. His family initially set up a GoFundMe to raise money for his treatment, however, the page is still open for donations.
42. Mike Huckaby, techno music pioneer and DJ
“DJ Mike Huckaby, whose soulful, studied work made him one of the prominent early figures in Detroit techno and house music, died [April 24, 2020] after a lengthy hospitalization following a stroke,” the Detroit Free press reported. Huckaby tested positive for the coronavirus while he was hospitalized. He was 54 years old.
43. Callum Hudson-OdoiSource:Getty
Callum Hudson-Odoi, a professional soccer player in the Premier League with the Chelsea football club, was diagnosed with the coronavirus. He made the announcement on March 12, 2020. He is just 19 years old.
44. DL Hughley, comedian
Hughley thanked his supporters for their prayers after his diagnosis in 2020. “It turns out they ran a battery of tests and I also tested positive for covid-19,” he wrote on social media. He said it “blew me away” and that he was asymptomatic – no flu-like symptoms – not shortness of breath, no cough, no fever, still doesn’t have one – no loss or smell of taste – “apparently, I just lost consciousness.” Hughley later quarantined for 14 days.
45. Ahmed Ismail Hussein, Somali singer
Ahmed Ismail Hussein, the legendary Somali singer and musician who was also popularly known as “Hudeydi,” was hospitalized in the UK after contracting the coronavirus. Nicknamed the “King of Oud,” a reference to the Arabic instrument resembling a guitar, died in a London hospital. His date of death was not immediately reported, but it was announced April 8, 2020.
46. Jesse and Jacqueline JacksonSource:Getty
Civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline, have been hospitalized after both tested positive for COVID-19. Both are fully vaccinated but became infected likely because of the exponentially contagious delta variant that is spreading around the globe quickly, often with similar “breakthrough” cases.
47. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, former White House butler
Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, a former longtime butler who worked in the White House, died in May 2020 following complications from the coronavirus. He was 91 years old. Jerman served 11 presidents, including Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black commander-in-chief. Fox News reported that “Jerman worked at the White House from 1957 to 2012 as a cleaner, a doorman, and butler.”
48. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, actor
Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced on an Instagram video that he and his family had overcome the coronavirus after testing positive at an undisclosed date.
“I can tell you that this has been one of the most challenging and difficult things we have ever had to endure as a family, and for me personally too,” he said in part of the video. “And I’ve gone through some doozies in the past. I’ve gotten knocked about and gotten my ass kicked a little bit, but testing positive for COVID-19 is much different than overcoming nasty injuries or being evicted or even being broke.”
He encouraged people to wear masks so they don’t meet the same fate that he and his family did. His daughters were 2- and 4-years-old at the time.
49. Paul Johnson, house music DJSource:Getty
Paul Johnson, a pioneering house music star DJ whose releases made him a legend in his hometown of Chicago, died Wednesday (Aug. 4) at the age of 50. His cause of death was reported as complications from COVID-19.
Johnson’s death was announced via his Facebook page and accompanied by a video of Johnson speaking.
“Our greatness passed away this morning at 9am the house music legend we all know as PJ aka PAUL JOHNSON has passed away in this day of AUGUST 4th 2021,” the Facebook post said. “Rest In Heaven Paul.”
Johnson was remembered in superlative terms as news of his death spread across social media.
DJ Mag called Johnson “One of the most essential house musicians of all time.”
50. Jim Jones, rapperSource:Getty
Jones accompanied the Instagram post with a caption announcing that he has since tested negative. He warned people to “mask up” and compared COVID-19 to a “stray bullet” that “don’t care who it hits.”
However, he fell short of calling on his nearly 3 million Instagram followers to get vaccinated.
51. Brad “Scarface” JordanSource:Getty
The rapper more popularly known as Scarface from the legendary Geto Boys announced on March 26, 2020, that he tested positive for the coronavirus. The 49-year-old Houstonian had reportedly been suffering from symptoms for weeks before he got confirmation of his condition.
52. DeAndre Jordan, NBA starSource:Getty
DeAndre Jordan tweeted on June 29, 2020, that he tested positive for COVID-19, which will prevent him from participating in the continuation of the NBA’s 2019-20 season that was suspended because f the coronavirus. Jordan is among multiple other NBA players who have tested positive for the respiratory disease that has caused a global pandemic and abruptly ended major sporting competitions.
53. Gayle King, journalistSource:Getty
Journalist Gayle King revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 9, 2022. The 67-year-old co-host of “Good Morning America” on ABC made the announcement via her Instagram account.
“Okay, the thing I’ve been dreading has finally happened,” King said in the video. “I just tested positive for — I got the ‘rona.”
54. Tim Lester, NFL starSource:Getty
Tim Lester, a former NFL star who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, and Dallas Cowboys, died on Jan. 12, 2021, from COVID-19 complications. He was 52.
55. Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootSource:Getty
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced in January 2022 that she had tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement followed weeks of negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union about resuming in-person learning amid heightened concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus that has been fueling cases in the city and across the country.
56. LL Cool JSource:Getty
Hip-hop legend and overall pop culture superstar LL Cool J has tested positive for COVID-19 just days ahead of New Year’s Eve when he was scheduled to perform as a headliner at an annual show on network TV counting down until it turns 2022.
The 53-year-old rap pioneer made the announcement on Dec. 29 and referenced the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” show on ABC from which he had to withdraw because of his diagnosis.“I know it’s disappointing to the millions of fans but my test came back positive for COVID, which means I’ll no longer be able to perform as scheduled at NYRE,” LL Cool J said in a statement published by Deadline. “We were ready and I was really looking forward to ringing in 2022 in my hometown in a special way, but for now I wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year. The best is yet to come!“
57. James Mahoney, pulmonologist
Dr. James Mahoney, a pulmonologist who delayed his retirement in order to help his colleagues fight the coronavirus, died after contracting COVID-19. Mahoney died April 27, 2020, at the age of 62 following a 40-year career in medicine. The New York Times reported that Mahoney “had spent his whole career at a poorly financed public hospital” and “went to extraordinary lengths to help patients.”
58. Ellis Marsalis Jr., musicianSource:Getty
The legendary jazz musician died in April 2020 following complications from the coronavirus. He was 85 years old.
59. DeRay McKesson, activistSource:Getty
Civil rights activist DeRay McKesson announced on April 16, 2020, that “just tested positive for COVID-19.” He went on to tweet that he experienced some of the respiratory illnesses’ milder symptoms and added that doctors told him to expect a full recovery.
60. Von Miller, NFL starSource:Getty
It was announced on April 16, 2020, that NFL star Von Miller had contracted the coronavirus. NFL Network reporter Ian Rappaport tweeted that Miller was “at home resting and in good spirits.”
61. Nicki MinajSource:Getty
Rapper Nicki Minaj announced on Twitter that she tested positive for COVID-19. She said it happened ahead of the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, where she had been scheduled to perform but canceled abruptly days before. Now, it appears we have our reason why.
“I was prepping for vmas then i shot a video & guess who got COVID?” Minaj tweeted.
E! reported that Minaj also canceled her appearance at Monday night’s MET Gala because of the requirement for vaccinated guests, prompting speculation about whether the rapper was an anti-vaxxer.
She added in the same tweet that her fellow rapper Drake “got covid w|THE VACCINE,” suggesting she was skeptical of its effectiveness.
Minaj would go on to share a number of controversial opinions about both COVID-19 and the vaccine using rhetoric that endeared her to right-wing conservatives who have similarly spread mistruths and lies about the pandemic.
62. Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell is another member of the Utah Jazz who tested positive. The 23-year-old NBA All Star announced that he was participating in a challenge called #StayHomeFor to encourage people to socially distance and stay at home as the coronavirus continues to spread. The state health department cleared Mitchell on March 27, 2020, after he completed a period of self-quarantining.
63. Wisconsin Rep. Rep. Gwen MooreSource:Getty
Moore tweeted on Dec. 28,, 2020, that she tested positive for the coronavirus. The 69-year-old Wisconsinite did not announce how she contracted it and suggested she was experiencing mild symptoms, if any at all, and vowed that her work on Capitol Hill would not be interrupted.
“I encourage every person to continue taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing,” Moore tweeted.
64. Lloyd Porter, small business owner in Brooklyn
Lloyd Porter, who owned and operated the famed Bread Stuy bakery in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, has died after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
65. U.S. Rep. Ayanna PressleySource:Getty
Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley tested positive for COVID-19 on New Year’s Eve, the Congresswoman from Boston announced. She credited a lack of severe symptoms to being fully vaccinated and receiving a subsequent booster shot, according to Boston.com.
“Thankfully, my symptoms are relatively mild, and I am grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted,” Pressley said in a statement. “I am currently isolating and following all health protocols in order to mitigate further spread and keep my loved ones and community safe.”
66. Charley Pride, country music legendSource:Getty
Charley Pride went from growing up picking cotton in Mississippi to playing professional baseball in the Negro League to getting drafted in the Army to going back to baseball to finally signing a recording contract in Nashville on his way to becoming the first major country music star who is Black. It was a remarkable rise to fame that ended Dec. 12, 2020, after he succumbed to the deadly coronavirus. Pride was 86 years old.
67. South African President Cyril RamaphosaSource:Getty
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 12, 2021. The country’s public health officials encouraged people to get vaccinated despite the vaccine’s lack of mainstream availability in South Africa.
“President Ramaphosa says his own infection serves as a caution to all people in the country to be vaccinated and remain vigilant against exposure. Vaccination remains the best protection against severe illness and hospitalization,” the South African Military Health Service of the South African National Defence Force said in a statement.
Ramaphosa tested positive as COVID-19 infections have been surging in South Africa, including children, with cases being attributed to the Omicron variant.
68. Biden Adviser, Rep. Cedric RichmondSource:Getty
Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who represents Louisiana, tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 16, 2020. Richmond is also an adviser who will serve as director of the Office of Public Engagement. Biden tested negative after being made aware of Richmond’s diagnosis.
69. Arnie Robinson Jr., Olympian
Olympic gold medalist Arnie Robinson Jr., died from COVID-19 on Dec. 2, 2020, at the age of 72. He is known as one of the greatest long jumpers in the world, securing the gold at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal. He leaped 27 feet and 4¾ inches on the first jump of the competition.
Over his career he won seven national titles and was the world’s top-ranked long jumper from 1976-1979. He retired from his profession in 1979 and took up coaching at San Diego Mesa College in 1982, where taught for 28 years after retiring from teaching in 2010.
70. Chris Rock, actor and comedianSource:Getty
Comedy icon and actor Chris Rock announced Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 despite his fully vaccinated status. It was considered a “breakthrough” case.
Rock urged people to take the pandemic and that COVID-19 vaccine seriously.
“Hey guys I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this,” Rock tweeted. “Get vaccinated.”
71. Wallace RoneySource:Getty
Wallace Roney, a Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter who was associated with and influenced by the legendary Miles Davis, died on March 31, 2020. His death was caused by complications after he contracted the coronavirus. He was just 59 years old. Pictured: Wallace Roney plays trumpet with his orchestra during a performance in the 22nd Annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, New York, New York, Aug. 23, 2014. The orchestra played a composition by Wayne Shorter written for, but not performed by, Miles Davis.
72. Marcus Smart
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart also tested positive for COVID-19. The 26-year-old posted a video on Instagram revealing the news and he encouraged everyone to practice social distancing.
73. Shaka Smart, University Of Texas Men’s Basketball CoachSource:Getty
Men’s college basketball coach Shaka Smart announced on Jan. 25, 2020, that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Smart tweeted the news as his University of Texas Longhorns team were enjoying major success this season.
Smart tweeted that he was “in isolation away from our team and family” and “working remotely.” He is expected to rejoin the team “when it is safe to do so.”
Smart’s announcement came about an hour after the latest college rankings showed his team was in the top 5.
74. Troy Sneed, gospel singerSource:Getty
Gospel singer Troy Sneed died April 27, 2020 following complications from contracting the coronavirus. He was just 54 years old.
75. Sage SteeleSource:Getty
Sage Steele tested positive days after she publicly railed against her employer’s (ESPN) coronavirus policy. She said that mandating the vaccine was “sick and scary,” But she did comply once ESPN’s mandate was enforced. After her positive test, Sage was taken off air, Since he has apologized to ESPN for her comments.
76. Oliver “DJ Black N Mild” Stokes Jr.
New Orleans radio personality Oliver Stokes Jr. who went by the name of DJ Black N Mild died March 19, 2020 one day after he tested positive for the coronavirus. He was 44 years old.
77. Michael Strahan, ‘Good Morning America’ host, former NFL starSource:Getty
“Good Morning America” host and former NFL star Michael Strahan tested positive for COVID-19. Strahan’s co-hosts Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Amy Robach confirmed the news on the air on Jan. 28, 2021 while acknowledging Strahan’s absence in previous days. They said he was doing “well” and was quarantined until he received a negative diagnosis.
78. Carole Sutton, actressSource:Getty
Actress Carol Sutton, whose performances in the TV series “Queen Sugar” and the movie “Steel Magnolias” earned her high praise, has died. Sutton was 76 years old. Her cause of death on Dec. 10, 2020 was reported as Covid-19.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell remembered Sutton as “the Queen of New Orleans theater” in a moving statement issued Dec. 13, when the death was officially announced.
79. Chucky Thompson, music producer, 53Source:Getty
Chucky Thompson, an award-winning music producer who spawned chart-topping hits with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B, was found dead, according to NewsOne’s sister site HipHopWired. He was 53 years old.
Fellow producer Young Guru, who called Thomason his “mentor,” announced the death via his Instagram on Monday afternoon. Young Guru did not disclose Thomason’s cause of death. But AllHipHop.com reported that Thompson died following a battle with COVID-19.
“This one hurts so bad I can even explain it,” Young Guru wrote in part.
80. Jeffrey “DJ Jazzy Jeff” Townes
Hip-hop pioneer DJ Jazzy Jeff had hinted that he was suffering from the coronavirus weeks before he confirmed it on the “Tamron Hall Show” on April 14, 2020. He detailed his experience to the hostess and said he first started feeling symptoms in late March after attending a ski event in Idaho.
81. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coachSource:Getty
NFL head coach Mike Tomlin contracted COVID-19. Tomlin, 48, was one of multiple members of the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff to test positive for the virus, ESPN reported.
Without acknowledging the reports that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, Tomlin tweeted a statement on Feb. 22 thanking people for wishing him well.
“I want to thank everyone who reached out to express their concerns for my health,” Tomlin began his statement before adding later: “I’ll be back in the office soon.”
82. Karl-Anthony Towns, NBA starSource:Getty
After suffering the devastating loss of his mother from COVID-19 in 2020, NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns announced he tested positive on Jan. 15, 2021.
“Prior to tonight’s game, I received yet another awful call that I tested positive for COVID. I will immediately isolate and follow every protocol,” the 25-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves center shared on Twitter.
“I pray every day that this nightmare of a virus will subside and I beg everyone to continue to take it seriously by taking all of the necessary precautions. We cannot stop the spread of this virus alone, it must be a group effort by all of us,” he added.
83. Jo Thompson, singerSource:Getty
Jo Thompson, who was once hailed as the “piano-playing Lena Horne,” died from COVID-19 complications on March 9, 2021. She was 92. Thompson, a Detroit native, travelled all around the world with her gifts and was known as a barrier-breaking artist in a time where Black artists were still fighting for liberation in America.
84. Karl-Anthony Towns’ parents, Jacqueline Cruz and Karl-Anthony Towns Sr.
NBA All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns revealed on March 24, 2o020 that his mother had tested positive for the coronavirus days before it was reported on March 26 that his father was suffering from the same illness. His mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was placed in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator. She died on April 13. His father, Karl Sr., was reportedly recovering after being quarantined.
85. Coby White, NBA playerSource:Getty
Chicago Bulls guard Coby White tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on Dec. 1, 2021.
Per ESPN: “White is the second Bulls player to contract the coronavirus recently, following center Nikola Vucevic, who missed seven games last month while in the league’s health and safety protocols.”
86. Juan Williams, Fox News HostSource:Getty
Fox News host Juan Williams was diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020. Williams 66, serves as the liberal leaning voice on the conservative networks daily show “The Five.” On Nov. 18 Williams left for vacation and returned to Fox News studios on Monday, where he was tested and received a negative result. On Wednesday he returned to “The Five.”
In a statement obtained by The New York Times, the network said the show would tape from home “for the foreseeable future.”
87. Wendy Williams, talk show hostSource:Getty
Popular daytime talk show host Wendy Williams had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Instagram account for “The Wendy Williams Show” called it a “breakthrough case,” meaning that Williams is fully vaccinated and still contracted the highly contagious virus. Luckily, she was reportedly asymptomatic and did not immediately exhibit any real symptoms.
88. Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham, AlabamaSource:Getty
Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, was hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia. The 39-year-old first-term mayor was admitted to the hospital on the night of Jan. 4, 2021. The City of Birmingham tweeted the news and said Woodfin “is receiving excellent care” and “remains in good spirits and thanks everyone for their well wishes.”
AL.com reported that Woodfin had been experiencing mild symptoms and was self-quarantined until his hospitalization.
The former school board member and city prosecutor was elected the city’s youngest mayor in 2017.
89. Zumbi, rapperSource:Getty
Rapper Zumbi of the hip-hop group Zion I recently died at the age of 49.
A family statement released to California news outlet KQED said Steve “Zumbi” Gaines died Friday (Aug. 13) in a hospital of “unknown causes.”
However, a Los Angeles-based Los Angeles hip-hop collective called Project Blowed said in an Instagram post that Zumbi died as he was “recovering from COVID-19” due to a “severe asthma attack.” KQED attributed Project Blowed’s statement to True Justice, a DJ who accompanied Zion I while on tour.
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