The Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79, and his wife Jacqueline, 77, were hospitalized on Saturday after testing positive for the coronavirus, the Washington Examiner reported.
It’s the latest breakthrough case of COVID-19 to make headlines. Jackson, for his part, was reportedly vaccinated against the disease in January as part of a public event to encourage people of color to get the vaccine.
A statement from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a civil rights organization founded by Jackson, said Saturday that doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago are monitoring the couple’s condition.
No further information was available about their condition or diagnosis by late Saturday. The coalition said that anyone who had been in contact with either Jackson in the last five or six days should get tested for the virus, the Examiner reported.
Hospitalizations rare among vaccinated
Notably, it has been rare for vaccinated individuals to be hospitalized, but hospitalization is said to be more common in Jackson’s age group than in younger individuals, according to The New York Times.
Jackson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017, the Examiner said, but has remained active in the civil rights movement since then.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who worked with Jackson on many civil rights issues over decades, requested prayers for the Jacksons in a weekend tweet.
Let us all pray for Rev. and Mrs Jesse Jackson. They need our sincere and intense prayers. Prayer changes things!!!
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 22, 2021
Delta variant puts strain on hospitals
The news comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases attributed to the prevalence of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is said to be more transmissible than the original strain. Nationwide, cases have risen rapidly in recent weeks to levels not seen since the winter surge of 2020-2021, although deaths have not followed at those levels.
In some states, hospitals are reaching capacity amid staffing shortages caused by previous layoffs and staff testing positive for the virus, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
COVID-related hospitalizations have nearly doubled in Illinois since Aug. 1, the Chicago Tribune reports, and most of the hospitalizations are of unvaccinated people. Nearly 61% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated, and more people are getting vaccinated as case numbers rise.
Illinois will give out two $1 million prizes and 17 $150,000 college scholarships in a lottery this week for those who have gotten vaccinated, the Tribune notes.