Debunking recent 5G and COVID-19 conspiracy theories

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The rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic has led to the formulations of many conspiracy theories, aimed at linking the spread to the 5G wireless service. Reuters reported on April 5 that mobile phone masts have, in recent days, been vandalised and telecoms staff abused in Birmingham in central England and Merseyside in northern England. The rumours began to spread on social media as early as late January. One is: ‘5G might suppress the immune system’. Two: ‘Viruses can communicate through radio waves’. However, neither of these theories is backed up by evidence. Major social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, are moving to limit the spread of false coronavirus 5G theory. Below are some of the clarifications made by some experts and organisations to debunk such untrue stories.

The following excerpts are representative public statements from the World Health Organization, GSMA, Full Fact and some media reports for your reference.

  1. The WHO says no research has linked exposure to wireless technology with negative health effects
  • Reuters says that there is no scientific evidence to connect mobile communication networks with the SARS, swine flu and coronavirus outbreaks. Although 3G, 4G, and 5G were unrolled at similar dates to the SARS, swine flu and new coronavirus outbreaks, their start dates do not match. Many countries without 5G infrastructure have reported coronavirus cases (such as much of Latin America here).
  • The WHO says no research has linked exposure to wireless technology with negative health effects
  • Media Report:Reuters: False claim: 3G, 4G, and 5G caused SARS, swine flu and the new coronavirus

2. GSMA Condemns Attacks Against Mobile Phone Masts

  • GSMA states in its press release that “England’s National Medical Director Stephen Powis has been widely reported in the media as saying, ‘The 5G story is complete and utter rubbish, it’s nonsense, it’s the worst kind of fake news.’”
  • Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, says “The telecoms industry is working around the clock to keep vital health, education, and emergency services online, businesses running, and friends and families connected. It is deplorable that critical communications infrastructure is being attacked based on outright mistruths. We urge everyone to trust health authorities and rest assured communications technology is safe. There is no link between 5G and COVID-19.”
  • The GSMA calls on internet giants, content providers, and social media platforms to accelerate their efforts to remove fake news linking 5G to the spread of COVID-19. Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact-checking charity has confirmed that there is no link between 5G and COVID-19. We also urge governments around the world to take swift action against disinformation, vandalism, and threats against mobile network field engineers.

Press Release:GSMA Condemns Attacks Against Mobile Phone Masts

  1. Full Fact (the UK’s independent fact-checking charity): These claims about the new coronavirus and 5G are unfounded
  • The Daily Star has reported on “a new conspiracy theory” surrounding the new coronavirus: that 5G networks could be responsible for the rapid spread of the virus. The article refers to two theories to support the claim that 5G accelerates the new coronavirus. Firstly that 5G might suppress the immune system and, secondly, that viruses can communicate through radio waves. Neither of these theories is backed up by evidence. The new coronavirus is also affecting countries and regions where no 5G is present. As we have written before, there is no evidence to suggest that 5G has anything to do with COVID-19—the illness caused by the new coronavirus. There is no evidence that 5G networks are harmful to health.
  • The headline quoted above has now been changed by the Daily Star to read “Coronavirus: Activists in bizarre claim 5G could be acting as ‘accelerator’ for disease” and includes a statement by the UK government to say there is “no convincing evidence that 5G is dangerous”.
  • Media Report:5G is not accelerating the spread of the new coronavirus

4. Fortune: Does 5G cause or spread the coronavirus? Here’s what experts say

  • The answer to 5G involvement with the coronavirus is simple and straightforward, according to every scientist and doctor that Fortune spoke with. There simply is no connection between 5G and the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. There is no mechanism by which a wireless technology could cause a virus to mutate into a killer epidemic and no way that wireless airwaves can transmit viruses. It is, as Stephen Powis, Medical Director for the British National Health Service, says, “complete and utter rubbish.”
  • That theory is “based on nothing,” “There are no indications from scientific studies that 5G, or any other G, affects the immune system,” he says. “If that would be the case, we would have seen effects on the scale and severity of infectious diseases already decades ago. And we don’t” says Eric van Rongen, a biologist who has been studying the health effects of electromagnetic fields for decades and currently chairs the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, a nonprofit formed in the 1990s to offer scientific advice on the issue to policymakers.
  • Media Report:Does 5G cause or spread the coronavirus? Here’s what experts say

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

David Appiah ([email protected]),

Jenny Zhou ([email protected])

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