A conspiracy theory linking 5G technology to coronavirus outbreak

From the past few days, a conspiracy theory is getting viral on the internet that links 5G cellular towers being a reason for the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite any scientific evidence, multiple 5G towers have been vandalized in the UK and Netherlands. European law enforcement and security officials are currently identifying individuals who are targeting the cellular infrastructure. As per some officials, the theory is driven by a coordinated effort by state promoters. These rumors have led to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clearly state that “5G technology does not cause coronavirus”.

A fire-damaged cellular tower in UK. Image courtesy: Darren Staples (Bloomberg)

This theory began with the arrival of 5G technology a couple of years ago. It was being circulated online that 5G is a major health concern for living things. Many videos of birds or small animals dying near towers were being circulated online. As COVID-19 and 5G are phenomenons happening at the same time, the claims of a link between 5G and the infection are being swept across Europe. None of these theories make sense because the virus is spreading in countries without any 5G infrastructure. Also, South Korea is having the technology for one year now, and COVID-19 cases only started to pop-up after the virus was identified in Wuhan.

Some of these theories also suggest that 5G radio waves affect the immune system of the human body and hence the more chance of spreading the disease. But as a matter of fact, 5G radio waves aren’t strong enough to heat the body and weaken the immune system. Much like 2G or 3G, they are non-ionizing and low-frequency radiation. “The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” as explained by Simon Clarke, an associate cellular microbiology professor at the University of Reading. ICNIRP has also updated its guidelines for 5G safety last month after a seven-year study. [5G radiation confirmed safe by ICNIRP]

As there is no scientific evidence of such theories, the idea of COVID-19 caused by 5G cellular towers is complete rubbish, as per the researchers. 5G radio signals are electromagnetic waves, same as the ones used by 2G/3G/4G mobile phones. Electromagnetic waves and viruses are two different things without any sort of correlation to each other. So there is no question of spreading the infection of the disease. Social media companies are taking action on spreading such conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to coronavirus. YouTube has also stated that any content or theory that disputes the existence and transmission of COVID-19 will be a violation of its policies.

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