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New Jersey’s reopening plans are threatened, Gov. Phil Murphy said, because of “extreme knucklehead behavior” by young people who he said could be “substantially” spreading the coronavirus.

Murphy specifically expressed fear over what he said could turn out to be a superspreader event staged by a group of YouTube pranksters at the popular “Jersey Shore" house in Seaside Heights, as well as a pop-up car show that attracted 2,500 people.

If such behavior continues, he said, the state won’t be even “remotely close” to reopening bars – and could see a rebound in cases in its schools.

Murphy repeatedly has warned young people since June that they are “not invincible.”

“On Monday in Seaside Heights, extreme knucklehead behavior was on display with hundreds of crowded, unmasked young people,” he tweeted. “These knuckleheads are not welcome in New Jersey. I urge anyone who was in this crowd to go get tested for #COVID19.”

New Jersey currently is seeing a spike in cases among young people’s age groups, the governor said, in announcing 447 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths Wednesday.

The results of recent COVID tests won’t be known for 10 days to two weeks.

"I don't know when we'll get there (reopening the state),” with instances of people packed together "either inside a bar or in a restaurant," Murphy said Wednesday. "We're not close to that.

"What makes people think a house party is any different from that? Because that's what that is, right?" he asked. "nd we've got to avoid that like the plague.

"Just because you're young and seemingly invincible doesn't mean you actually are, or that you can't spread the virus onto someone who may be particularly vulnerable if you yourself are not symptomatic."

Gatherings such as the Jersey Shore stunt and the car show is how COVID-19 “spreads most easily," Murphy said.

The most recent positivity rates for the 14-18 and 19-24 age groups have tripled over the past month and are now nearly three times the statewide rate, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

The 19-24 age group currently has the highest percentage of people who tested positive in the state, with a 7.1 positivity rate, she said, adding that the same group was at 2.7% a month ago.

The positivity rate for the 14-18 age group, meanwhile, went from 3 a month ago to 7, Persichilli said.

Every other age groups has flattened or declined, she said.

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NHS bowel cancer checks hit record high thanks to Dame Deborah James

DAME Deborah James has driven a record number of people to get bowel cancer checks on the NHS.

The Sun columnist was aged 35 when she was diagnosed, and spent the five years till her death on June 28 fearlessly campaigning.

2Record numbers of people are getting bowel cancer tests thanks to the lasting impression of the late cancer campaigner Dame Deborah JamesCredit: Not known, clear with picture desk 2Dame Deborah James encouraged people to check their poo - which can be a key indicator of bowel cancerCredit: Instagram

The mum-of-two made it her mission to "break the poo taboo", encouraging people to get any strange bowel signs and symptoms checked out.

According to the NHS, between the months of May and July, 170,500 people referred for checks for suspected lower gastro-intestinal cancers.

It is up over 30,000 compared to the same period in 2021, and nearly 80,000 higher than the same period two years ago.

Referrals for bowel cancer hit an all-time high in the second week of July, shortly after Dame Deborah’s death, up 60 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

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The last three months also saw almost 200,000 more visitors to the NHS website to check symptoms of the disease.

These include changes to your poo, blood in poo, stomach pains and weight loss. 

It comes after NHS statistics published on Thursday revealed that in June 2022, 96,774 people living in England were on the waiting list for bowel investigations.

It compares to 87,836 people waiting this time last year.

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The figures show that more and more people are coming forward with their concerns and being referred for life-saving tests.

Health secretary, Steve Barclay said: "These figures reflect the lasting legacy of Dame Deborah James' tireless campaigning to raise awareness about bowel cancer.

"Through her courage and honesty she has inspired tens of thousands of people to come forward and get checked."

National cancer director Dame Cally Palmer said: “Thanks to the brave and relentless campaigning of Dame Deborah James, bowel cancer has come to the forefront of a national conversation on catching cancer as early as possible.

“The fact that we have seen record numbers of people coming forward for bowel cancer checks shows people are taking the illness seriously and speaking to their GPs about it.”

Early diagnosis is life-saving.

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK said: "Bowel cancer is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early. 

“Nearly everyone diagnosed at the earliest stage will survive bowel cancer, but this drops significantly as the disease develops."

Ms Edwards said the spotlight on bowel cancer has never been so bright thanks to Deborah's campaigning.

"As she would always say ‘make sure you check your poo’.”

However, the charity has warned that more needs to be done to ensure the NHS is able to provide more bowel cancer tests to meet demand.

Waiting lists far outweigh the number of appointments available - meaning Brits will have to wait even longer for a referral.

Of the 96,774 people waiting for tests in June, 37 per cent had to wait more than six weeks, and 21 per cent had to wait more than 13 weeks.

Bowel cancer is one of the UK’s most common cancers, with 43,000 cases and 17,000 deaths every year.

The NHS sends stool sample collection kits to over-50s in England so labs can check people’s poo for signs of blood – a possible sign of a tumour.

In early May, Dame Deborah revealed she had stopped active treatment and was receiving end-of-life care at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, with her husband and their two children on hand.

The podcaster was diagnosed in 2016 and kept her one million Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.

Her candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment, won praise from the public and media alike.

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Alongside Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, she launched the You, Me And The Big C podcast in 2018.

She was made a dame, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying: “If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it.”

The signs of bowel cancer you need to know - remember BOWEL
  • B:Bleeding
  • There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, of blood in your poo.

    Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, haemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.

    Dark red or black blood could come from your bowel or stomach.

    Blood in your stools is one of the key signs of bowel cancer, so it’s important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.

    2. O: Obvious change in loo habits

    It’s important to tell your GP if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits, that lasts three weeks or longer.

    It’s especially important if you have also noticed signs of blood in your poo.

    You might notice you need to go to the loo more often, you might have looser stools or feel like you’re not going enough or fully emptying your bowels.

    Don’t be embarrassed, your GP will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and get it checked.

    3. W: Weight loss

    This is less common than the other symptoms, but an important one to be aware of. If you’ve lost weight and don’t really know why, it’s worth mentioning to your GP.

    You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.

    4. E: Extreme tiredness

    Bowel cancer that causes bleeding can cause a lack of iron in the body – anaemia. If you develop anaemia you’re likely to feel tired and your skin might look pale.

    5. L: Lump or pain

    As with lots of other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.

    It’s most likely you’ll notice a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage

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