As the COVID-19 pandemic flares throughout the world, many people have made their own theories as to how and why the virus appeared and spread so quickly. Many people pointed their fingers to an unlikely culprit – 5G waves.
This isn’t the first time 5G has been under scrutiny. The advent of 5G has raised many concerns among people, to the extent that anti-5G movements have emerged in various countries in recent months. On social media, forums and online blogs, anti-5G activists are attributing a bewildering range of maladies to 5G, including cancer, infertility, autism and Alzheimer’s. And the level of misinformation is only growing and spreading.
This time, “naturally”, the tide of the 5G conspiracy theorists has drifted towards the novel coronavirus during the testing times of the global pandemic. The news linking COVID-19 to 5G is being spread all over social media as well as some of the popular news sites at lightning speed. This is not only reinforcing the fears of people who were already suspicious of 5G’s potential health risks, but also adding the otherwise “neutral” people to join their bandwagon.
In recent years, many controversies around 5G in the tech world have arisen, including the time when the US claimed that 5G technology from the Chinese corporation Huawei was being used as spyware, which resulted in Google removing its Android operating system and in-built Google services from all Huawei devices.
In the UK, mobile infrastructure workers are counted as ‘key workers’, and they are making sure that telecommunications are working in a time where most are working from home and lives are based on online activities during these times. However, people who support the 5G theory have made Facebook groups, calling for the harassment of these engineers as well as encouraging damaging 5G masts, and people claiming “the world government is plotting against them” and in this time the people have to “fight or die”. In recent days there have been suspected arson attacks on mobile phone masts in Birmingham, Liverpool and Merseyside. In one incident, an Openreach broadband engineer was spat at by an infuriated customer and now has suspected coronavirus.
The 5G coronavirus conspiracy has been circulating since January, which was when the virus began gaining recognition around the world. It mainly came around due to a claim that the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, was the first city in China where 5G technology was piloted. As well as this, people have been claiming that Bill Gates is using the virus as an excuse to build a microchip that “will be implanted into our brains”. These statements sound far-fetched however people are actually believing them and advocating for 5G technology to be destroyed and this misinformation should not be spreading.
Many people believe 5G causes ionising radiation and can cause problems to bone marrow, skin and hair. These symptoms aren’t of Covid-19, and it’s impossible that 5G causes ionising radiation as it’s on the complete opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum, shown below. 5G waves have a frequency of 30GHz and a wavelength that places it between radio and microwaves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Both of these waves pass through us all time, yet no problems are caused because of this. Likewise, radio waves and viruses aren’t transmitted in the same way. Covid-19 is thought to be transmitted via tiny respiratory droplets, which are produced when someone coughs, spits or sneezes. Radio waves cannot cause a human virus.
Though many countries that have 5G masts have been greatly affected by COVID-19, many countries that have suffered heavily don’t even have 5G masts as of yet, such as Iran, Japan and India. Iran only just finalised their 5G project, with infrastructure being constructed in the next year or so and Japan has only just begun rolling out 5G services while India has postponed theirs till further notice due to the pandemic.
The claims that 5G has caused harm have been delved into and addressed by scientists and organisations. 5G regulators in the UK have stated that the wavelengths will be considerably below international guidelines. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have very clearly stated that: “5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus,” while the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection found no evidence that 5G can be detrimental to health.
All in all, it’s likely that there is absolutely no correlation between 5G and COVID-19; they’re both global phenomena that are coincidentally happening at the same time. Don’t believe in everything you see and make sure your news is from a trusted source. This news is all fake, baseless and holds no water to the scientific community. We have to rationally evaluate what we see before we forward or circulate so that everyone is calm and informed about the situation and eliminate the spread of fake news.
- James Temperton, “The 5G coronavirus theory just took a really dark turn”, WIRED UK, May. 07, 2020
- Unspecified author, “Here’s where those 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories are coming from”, FullFact.org, Apr. 09, 2020
- Reality Check team, “Does 5G pose health risks?”, BBC, Jul. 15, 2019
- (featured image): Alex Wilkins, “Conspiracy theorists on Facebook and Youtube are blaming Coronavirus on 5G with no evidence”, Metro, Feb. 25, 2020