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5G Myths Busted: Conspiracy theories about 5G and the Coronavirus


Unfortunately, the onset of the 5G commercial launch by ISPs around the world in late 2019 collided with the first coronavirus cases reported in China. In some people’s minds, it wasn’t hard to somehow try and figure out the virus’s source in their minds, linking it to 5G without any evidence.

It provided a massive opportunity for conspiracy theorists to convince populations that the fifth generation of wireless communications, 5G, somehow causes the virus’s spread.

You’ve probably stumbled upon such information; on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, or other places online.

Such misinformation without foundational scientific evidence has hurt several internet service providers globally who saw some of their 5G masts destroyed.

Over 20 5G phone masts were destroyed in the UK in early 2020 over 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories. Some ISPs in the United States and Australia were also affected. And most recently, a little too close to home is the burning of 5G phone towers in South Africa.

Theories purporting that 5G transmits the virus or is somehow responsible for the virus have been strongly quashed by the scientists.

5G provides better download (and upload) speeds, low latency, both of which pave the way for way more real-life applications.

Is 5G Safe?

Conspiracy theories have majorly revolved around the spread of coronavirus and 5G. Some have had their concerns about the health effects that the new wireless network may have.

But what many may miss from the battle between conspiracy theorists and the scientific community is the history of concern around new mobile technologies being linked with some disease in one way or the other.

History repeats itself: it happened with 2G, 3G, and even 4G, and so far, so good, 5G is no exception. And with first cases of covid-19 being reported nearly the same time, correlating the two seemed like a no-brainer to conspiracy theorists.  

Significant concerns have also been around the purported health effects of 5G due to the slightly higher electromagnetic radiations used than in its precedents.

While there’s a long history of disparity among the scientific community on the effects of wireless infrastructure, the spread of viruses isn’t part of the differing group’s concern.

In other words, there’s no correlation between 5G and coronavirus. Scientists have repeatedly debunked claims linking the two.

5G is safe, according to a German-based scientific body that analyzes the effects of radio waves on human health, International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). It says 5G waves don’t carry as much radiation as the required maximum.

The frequency used by 5G and other radio wave technologies lies in the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

And based on the updated guidelines, the ICNIRP said 5G is safe, and there’s no evidence that mobile networks could cause cancer or any other illness. 

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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