Jesse Jackson and His Wife Test Positive for COVID-19

The civil rights activist had been vaccinated in January 2021.

Published Aug. 23, 2021

Jesse Jackson speaks to the crowd gathered at George Floyd Square in South Minneapolis. The square is where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin on May 25th, 2020 and has been community controlled and operated ever since without police. (Chad Davis/Wikimedia Commons)
Image courtesy of Chad Davis/Wikimedia Commons

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Civil rights activists the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his wife, Jacqueline Jackson, have both tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports from August 2021. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a social justice organization founded by Jackson, confirmed the news.

The Jacksons have been receiving treatment from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. According to their son, Jonathan Jackson, they are both “responding positively” to treatment, and “resting comfortably.”

Jesse Jackson, 79, received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in January 2021 in a publicized video, hoping it would encourage more Black people to get vaccinated. According to The Guardian, Jacqueline Jackson’s vaccination status is unclear, but the 77-year-old had unspecified underlying health concerns that raised concerns.

Upon getting the vaccine in January, Jackson pointed out the disparity between Black and white Americans during the pandemic:

The black community has suffered a hospitalization rate 3.7 times greater and a death rate 2.8 times greater than the white community. This reflects the harsh reality of inadequate health care in African-American communities. Many impoverished urban communities are health care deserts with hospitals and clinics unavailable. African Americans disproportionately work for employers that do not provide health care. Those who make too much for Medicaid eligibility are particularly at risk.
What’s clear is that the scientific community and community leaders must reach out and work hard to ensure that African Americans gain the confidence to get vaccinated. This won’t be easy. But with the leadership of Dr. Corbett and others, and with a new administration getting serious about providing the resources for mass vaccination and for outreach into the communities most impacted, lives can be saved.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.