The nation was shocked Saturday evening to learn that longtime Democrat and civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. — together with his wife, Jacqueline — has been hospitalized in Chicago following COVID-19 diagnoses, as Fox News reports.
Local ABC affiliate WLS noted that a statement on the subject was issued by the nonprofit organization founded by Rev. Jackson, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and it revealed that both husband and wife were undergoing treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the Windy City.
The communication, reportedly authorized by the pair’s son, Jonathan Jackson, stated, “Doctors are currently monitoring the condition of both. Anyone who has been around either of them for the last five or six days should follow the CDC guidelines,” and that while “no further updates” were available at that time, new information would be provided as it emerged.
According to reports, Rev. Jackson as well as his wife were considered fully vaccinated, with Mr. Jackson having received his first dose of the Pfizer preparation this past January at a highly-publicized event during which he encouraged communities of color to combat vaccine hesitancy and receive the shots, as Black Enterprise noted at the time.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that at ages 79 and 77 years, respectively, Rev. and Mrs. Jackson are at greater danger of developing severe illness or complications stemming from COVID-19 infection, and given that the former was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 2017, it could be that his risk profile is all the more worrisome.
Once the Jacksons’ health status became public on Saturday night, expressions of concern poured in from all corners, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot taking to Twitter to declare that she was “sending prayers and wishing a speedy recovery to @RevJJackson and his wife Jacqueline.”
Fellow activist Rev. Al Sharpton also posted his thoughts on the social media platform, saying, “Let us all pray for Rev. and Mrs. Jesse Jackson. They need our sincere and intense prayers,” adding, Prayer changes things!!!”
Not one to let his advanced age and already-comprised health situation thwart his commitment to activism, Rev. Jackson has remained heavily involved in voting rights demonstrations in recent months, a fact evidenced by his arrest in early August while taking part in a protest in Washington, D.C.
As the Associated Press reported at the time, Rev. Jackson was also arrested in July for his role in a demonstration at the Phoenix office of Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in which he and a group of other activists took the lawmaker to task for her opposition to ending the upper chamber’s filibuster rules, which they argued represents an unjust roadblock to the passage of sweeping, progressive electoral reforms.