Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline, were hospitalized Saturday after testing positive for covid-19, according to a statement. The famous civil rights leader is 79 and his wife is 77. They are being treated at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
The two remain hospitalized, but their son, Jonathan Jackson, told ABC7 the couple is responding well to treatment. “Both are resting comfortably and are responding positively to their treatments,” Jonathan said. “Doctors are currently monitoring the condition of both.”
Jonathan also provided further insight into what led the couple to be hospitalized. “She (Jacqueline) had been real lethargic with flu-like symptoms [and] went to the hospital Friday. Then it was diagnosed that she and my dad both had contracted COVID,” Jonathan said.
“She is having some oxygen but is able to function and breathe on her own without a respirator,” Jonathan added. “Nothing severe. Because of her age and her current health, it is more challenging.”
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Rev. Jackson is the founder of the civil and human rights non-profit Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He also worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Both he and Jacqueline are fully vaccinated but are among those with breakthrough infections. Jackson, who has Parkinson’s disease, got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in January at a public event and has been outspoken in urging the Black community to do likewise.
Jonathan admitted he and the rest of the Jackson clan were doing their best to stay optimistic because his parents aren’t out of the woods yet.
“This is vicious and it can turn quickly, so we are trying to stay upbeat and optimistic. But, I have seen this thing turn on a dime. You really just do not know,” Jonathan said.
As news of the couple’s hospitalization spread, an outpouring of calls for prayers and support for Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline, circulated on social media. Among them was Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Dr. King.
“Please continue to pray for and send love to Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Jacqueline Jackson,” Bernice tweeted, along with a photo of Jackson and her father.
“I’m praying for Rev. and Mrs. I had the honor of working & traveling w/ them through 2 historic presidential campaigns & the founding of the Rainbow,” tweeted James Zogby, president of the Arab America Institute. “She pushed him to greatness & he pushed us all. I want them better. We’re not done needing them both.”