UPDATED:08/25/21, 10 A.M.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday that he’s feeling “fairly well” and receiving great care at a Chicago hospital after a breakthrough COVID-19 infection.
He spoke briefly by phone with The Associated Press from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he and his wife, Jacqueline, have been hospitalized in separate rooms since the weekend when they tested positive for the virus.
“I’m doing fairly well,” the civil rights leader said.
The 79-year-old, who has Parkinson’s disease, has been fully vaccinated. He received his first dose at a public event in January where he encouraged others to do the same. But his 77-year-old wife, Jacqueline, also a civil rights activist, has not been vaccinated. She has been receiving some oxygen but is breathing on her own without a respirator, according to family members.
Jesse Jackson said his wife didn’t get vaccinated because she has a “preexisting condition” they were worried about. He did not elaborate.
Generally, public health experts strongly encourage people with existing health conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, to get vaccinated as they are at increased risk for severe illness.
Family members have said the Jacksons were admitted to the hospital in part because of their age and that both have been responding positively to treatment. They have been married nearly 60 years.
“The health status of both my parents is unchanged,” one of their sons, Jonathan Jackson, said in a Tuesday statement. “They continue to rest comfortably and to receive treatment.”
Jackson, who was hospitalized early this year for gallbladder surgery, has remained active and continued traveling and advocating for voting rights and other causes.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a famed civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate, and his wife, Jacqueline, have been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a statement Saturday.
Jesse Jackson, 79, is vaccinated against the virus and received his first dose in January during a publicized event as he urged others to receive the inoculation The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a famed civil rights leader and two-time presidential candidate, and his wife, Jacqueline, have been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a statement Saturday.
Jesse Jackson, 79, is vaccinated against the virus and received his first dose in January during a publicized event as he urged others to receive the inoculation as soon as possible.
“Vaccination is imperative to save lives, particularly for African Americans, disproportionately the greatest victims of the virus,” he said at the time.
He and his wife, 77, are being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
“Doctors are currently monitoring the condition of both,” according to the statement from Jesse Jackson’s nonprofit, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.
“There are no further updates at this time,” the statement said. “We will provide updates as they become available.”
A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson was key in guiding the modern civil rights movement on numerous issues, including voting rights.
Despite having been diagnosed for Parkinson’s disease, Jackson has remained active, and has advocated for COVID-19 vaccines for Black people, who lag behind white people in the United States’ vaccination drive. Earlier this month, he was arrested outside the U.S. Capitol during a demonstration calling for Congress to end the filibuster in order to support voting rights.