CHICAGO (CBS) -- The family of the Rev. Jesse Jackson issued an encouraging update late Sunday about the civil rights leader and his wife, Jacqueline, in their fight against COVID-19.
The family said both are responding well to treatments – as those around the world pray for their full recovery.
Son Jonathan Jackson released this statement:
"Both of my parents have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, and especially because of their ages, physicians at the Northwestern University Memorial Hospital are carefully monitoring their condition. Both are resting comfortably and are responding positively to their treatments. My family appreciates all of the expressions of concern and prayers that have been offered on their behalf, and we will continue to offer our prayers for your family as well. We ask that you continue to pray for the full recovery of our parents. We will continue to update you on a regular basis."
Rev. Jackson, 79, was fully vaccinated, according to a representative for Roseland Community Hospital, where he received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 8. At the time he got his first shot, Jackson held a news conference to encourage other elderly people to get their shots.
As CBS 2's Steven Graves reported Sunday night, the civil rights pioneer is now overcoming COVID with his wife after fighting for decades for social change. Many have been rallying for Jackson and his wife since the diagnosis – praying hard, and hoping the reverend's important work will take to the streets soon.
"To me, as other ministers in the city and around the world, we feel somewhat disheartened," said the Rev. Walter Jones.
The Rev. Walter Jones said there is most likely not a minister in Chicago who has not done social justice work with Rev. Jackson over the years.
"We know that we definitely need Jesse back on the field," Rev. Jones said. "Of course, as you know, Jesse has been a yeoman for social change for community empowerment and social change in the world."
Headlines from South American to France show Rev. Jackson's impactful work and reach. French President Emmanuel Macron awarded Jackson with a top honor just last month.
Well-wishers have been contacting Jackson's longtime friend, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Illinois). One woman stopped him right outside his home.
"Sometimes I don't think we know what we've had here in Chicago," Davis said. "We've had a jewel."
Just last Saturday, Davis said the reverend – who also has been suffering from Parkinson's disease for the past few years - was still actively working at the Bud Billiken Parade, despite clear health challenges. Jackson was organizing and talking about the work to be done for voting rights.
"He was still the vintage Jesse Jackson that we all know - on the case, giving instruction," Davis said.
Jackson led by example back in January when he got the COVID-19 vaccine on the city's South Side and – in a sign to encourage Black people to do the same.
"This is just another test for the testimony that we believe that Rev. Jackson will be given, as the Lord will bless him and heal him," Rev. Jones said.
And more work is ahead.
"I hope that he will be able to keep on doing it, "and trust that he and Jackie will both be coming out of there in the next few days," Davis said.
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