Angry Activists Are Burning Phone Towers Over Fears Of 5G Causing Coronavirus

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Coronavirus 5G
Nick Mollberg / CC BY

A conspiracy theory linking 5G to the coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire. In fact, so many people believe this theory that many have been torching 5G cell towers in the U.K. But is there any truth to the claims that 5G is causing the coronavirus to spread? Let’s take a look at the possible health risks associated with the technology.

 

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Conspiracy theory links 5G with the coronavirus

Wired traced the conspiracy theory linking 5G with the coronavirus to a Belgian newspaper's interview with Dr. Kris Van Kerckhoven. The newspaper headline read "5G is life-threatening, and no one knows it."  A tweet showing the newspaper article can still be found here, although the article has reportedly been deleted from the newspaper's website.

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In the interview, Van Kerckhoven not only claimed that 5G technology was dangerous, but also said it could be linked to the coronavirus. At the time of the article, COVID-19 wasn't yet a global pandemic. Almost all of those who had been infected were in Wuhan, China.

The article that triggered the conspiracy theory linking 5G to the coronavirus noted that since 2019, many 5G cell towers had been constructed around Wuhan. The writer then considered whether the virus and 5G could be related.

"I have not done a fact check," he wrote. "But it may be a link with current events."

What does the conspiracy theory say?

At this point, the conspiracy theory has made its way through social media groups and online forums. There are different versions of it going around.

According to The Guardian, some suggest that the coronavirus is real, but 5G is making it worse. Others have claimed that the symptoms so many people have come down with are actually caused by 5G towers rather than by the coronavirus. Others say the pandemic isn't even real. Instead, the pandemic is supposedly designed to cover up the installation of 5G towers.

Some claimed that Wuhan was the first city in the world to put up 5G towers, but that's not even true. The Chinese city received 5G technology in August 2019, nearly 18 months after O2 launched its first testbed for it in London. Additionally, Iran has many COVID-19 cases, but it doesn't have any 5G towers.

Still other claims suggested that 5G towers cause radiation, which makes people more susceptible to catch diseases like COVID-19.

Conspiracy theories linking new technology to health concerns are not new. When mobile networks installed 3G equipment in the mid-2000s, there was a similar outcry claiming a link between 3G and health problems. Others have made similar health claims about microwaves and Wi-Fi networks.

Multiple celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon and posted comments supposedly linking 5G with the coronavirus on their social media accounts.

Debunking the myth linking 5G to the coronavirus

Vandals who torched 5G cell towers in the U.K. have posted videos of their vandalism on social media. However, scientists say there is absolutely no evidence that 5G can be linked with the coronavirus. According to the BBC, NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis describes the conspiracy theory as "the worst kind of fake news."

Dr. Simon Clarke of the University of Reading said the claims about 5G making people more susceptible to catching COVID-19 or somehow being used to transmit the virus are "complete rubbish." Although very strong radio waves can cause things to heat up, 5G technology is not strong enough to heat people up to any meaningful level. He said many studies have shown that the energy levels from 5G radio waves are tiny, so they aren't even close to being strong enough to have a negative impact on the immune system.

Other experts believe that there are serious health risks related to 5G, even if its not tied to Coronavirus.