COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that has spread to over 100 countries and has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). But if you spend more than five minutes online, you’ll find someone shouting that 5G is the real cause of people’s illnesses. Simply put, these claims are factually false.
What is 5G, and Can It Cause a Virus?
5G represents the fifth-generation of the wireless telecom technology that smartphones and other devices use for communication and connecting to the internet. As with 4G LTE, 3G, and everything before it, the wireless network is transmitted over radio waves, a non-harmful part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Most claims you will read online stems from the fact that radio waves are technically radiation. Although that word tends to be viewed as negative, not all radiation is bad. As radio is non-ionizing and does not excite electrons and knock them out of orbit, 5G can’t cause DNA damage, cause cancer, or develop Coronavirus. Every study that claims otherwise has been proven false and inaccurate.
What Are the 5G Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories?
As mentioned, conspiracy theories around 5G and other new technologies aren’t new. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to remember that others online made the same claims about Wi-Fi, 4G, and other radio waves as they are now about 5G.
Look no further than most Facebook comment threads like the one pictured below. You will find many that include claims that they found information online that “proves” that the respiratory illness that many with Coronavirus are suffering from is caused by being around 5G.
Note: We have not linked any of the posts that include the false claims made in the below images. We do not want to help spread the fake messages that are being used to scare people.
My FB feed this morning. This unfortunately is not trolling… pic.twitter.com/HlSVniJ7Ve
— Antoni Stojak (@AntoniStojak) March 15, 2020
The theories that involve multiple maps that claim to show a correlation between 5G development and the rise of Coronavirus cases are the easiest to disprove.
In the example below, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and others decided to deploy 5G in major cities with large populations. Doing so allows the carriers to reach as many customers as possible before moving to the countryside where the community is more spread out.
What else do major cities have? International airports and larger populations per square mile. We already know that the Coronavirus started overseas and made its way stateside because of travelers that were previously infected. Once the virus is in the city, it is very easy to transmit it to others throughout the area accidentally.
And, finally, we have this claim that was shared thousands of times on Facebook and other social media platforms. There’s a lot to break down here, but let’s start with the claim that the Coronavirus started in China because it was the first to build over 100,000 5G towers.
First, yes, China has built over 100,000 5G towers. Even if this magic number had something to do with the spread of the symptoms felt by thousands of people, there’s currently no proof that the country was the first to reach 100,000.
Second, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have contributed money towards the research of the Coronavirus in the hopes of finding treatments and possibly a vaccine. Where this person is getting their information about Gates developing the virus or the outlandish claim that the vaccine will include microchips is a mystery to all.
Finally, claiming that the thousands of people who have already died from the Coronavirus are all actors should be a serious moral-code violation for anyone that considers sharing this type of false information.
Update #1, March 15, 2020: As if on cue, a verified celebrity took to Twitter and posted their own 5G conspiracy theory. In it, they claim that the next-gen telecom infrastructure causes people to drop dead. As with other viral posts, this tweet has been shared by thousands of people and Twitter has yet to take the dangerous message down.
Unfortunately, one of the Google Search snippets that Hilson took a screenshot of includes a line from our “How Worried Should You Be About the Health Risks of 5G?” article. Instead of addressing the question at hand, the snippet provided a line from the post that describes the misconceptions as to why some are afraid of 5G instead of answering that the technology isn’t dangerous. We have reached out to Google and requested that it gets fixed immediately.
Update #2, April 4, 2020: Baseless claims made by conspiracy theorists about 5G causing Coronavirus has started to spread fear through communities. As reported by The Guardian, authorities in the U.K. are investigating possible arson attacks on 5G towers.
The video below shows one of three such 5G phone masks in the UK that have been attacked. The #5GCoronavirus hashtag has since started to trend on Twitter.
— Sam Ali (@S_Ali25) April 2, 2020
What You Can Do to Help Combat Misinformation
If you come across similar conspiracy theories, you should report the posts to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever other platforms you see these types of dangerous messages on. The continued spread of false and harmful information could lead to people not taking proper health precautions, not believing their doctors if they do contract the Coronavirus, and much more.
In a time where fake news can spread across the internet in a blink of an eye, it’s important to fact check anything (especially outlandish claims) you read online.
5G Isn’t Making You Sick
Coronavirus is a virus. There is no questioning that. Doctors and scientists around the world have been researching the disease since its first appearance on the global stage and are hurridly looking for treatments and to help stop its spread. Any claim that 5G cause the health issues being reported are all false and ultimately harmful in themselves.
Remember, if you want to help protect the health of you, your family, and those in your community, wash your hands (and smart devices) regularly, spend some time at home with your family, and don’t visit highly-populated areas if it’s not required. Also, don’t be this person.