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DUBLIN (KPIX) — Bay Area Fourth of July celebrations are going to be very different this year due to the pandemic and health experts are concerned about large family gatherings.

In Dublin, Safe and Sane Fireworks are legal, but during a pandemic, it’s not just about the pyrotechnics being safe and legal, it’s about the people watching them staying healthy.

The city has cancelled the annual July 4 parades and nighttime fireworks displays over concerns about spreading coronavirus.

“We have a tremendous spike in COVID-19 right now we are managing that here,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriffs Department.

Health officials are concerned the holiday weekend may further exacerbate the problem and we may see a spike in COVID-19 cases two weeks later.

Tim Delaporte was selling Safe and Sane Fireworks as a fundraiser for the Dublin Rotary Club.

“People are getting anxious. They want to get out there they want to do something,” said Delaporte.

Hopefully, they’ll heed the coronavirus health warning posted right outside the fireworks booths.

“Gatherings of no more than 10 people, face coverings and use social media to share your fireworks rather than gathering in person,” reads the warning.

If residents do decide to gather this July 4, health experts advise them to stick to small pods.

For example, a family counts as one pod, and should only mix with pods who have been practicing safe COVID-19 protocols – e.g. wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands.

Dr. David Witt is a Kaiser epidemiologist. KPIX asked him how to deal with a guest who doesn’t want to wear a mask at your party or forgets to bring one? There is always that one guest who maybe doesn’t bring a mask or social distance, and it makes it a little awkward.

“If you have an extra mask ask them to wear it and if someone isn’t going to do that you have to be prepared to ask them to leave,” said Dr. Witt. “Its more than just social. They will never forgive themselves if they give your pod COVID.”

Safe and Sane Fireworks sales are up this year, according to vendors, which may mean that backyard parties are in the works — with fireworks.

To ensure a truly safe, sane and COVID-free Fourth of July, health experts say it’s a good idea to have a box of masks on hand to wear or share. When it comes to backyard barbecues, they advised guests to bring their own food.

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Family demands justice after healthy Black mother dies during emergency C-section

NEW YORK -- At age 26, Sha-Asia Washington appeared to be the picture of health in the final stages of her pregnancy.

Yet the young Black woman died during an emergency C-section after receiving an epidural at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, last week.

Family and friends of Washington are now speaking out, pointing to systemic racism as a possible factor in her death.

"She's 26 years old. How does your heart stop at 26? How? She was healthy -- there was nothing wrong with her, her whole pregnancy," said Washington's best friend Jazmin Lopez.

Demonstrators gathered outside the hospital this week with signs that read "Black Births Matter." Even celebrity comedian Amy Schumer posted to social media about the case.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

And according to one study, Black mothers giving birth in New York City are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers.

While "there are many complex drivers of maternal mortality," according to the CDC, data suggest the majority of deaths -- 60% or more -- could have been prevented. The agency says identifying and addressing implicit bias in health care would likely improve health outcomes.

"We need anti-racist medical models of care -- that's it, we need a systemic overhaul," said Chanel Porchia-Albert, a New York City-based reproductive health advocate.
Washington gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Khloe, but her father, Juwan Lopez, and his family are grieving now.

"We just want justice, justice for Khloe, and justice for Sha-Asia, so she can leave a legacy for her baby," said Jose Lopez, the baby's grandfather.

A spokesperson for the hospital released the following statement Thursday:

"NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull is committed to the maternal health and welfare of our patients. We are saddened by this death and our condolences go out to the family of the deceased. The City's public health system recognizes the disproportionate increased burden that black and brown patients face during childbirth. We are devoted to understanding the causes, and are committed to addressing this unacceptable disparity."

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