Why would people believe 5G causes COVID-19?

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A significant number of people are concerned about 5G technology and believe it emits harmful radiation. 

That’s a rational fear as the technology does emit some radiation at very low levels. What is irrational is the strange rumour that 5G can cause COVID-19. While some may see this as a ridiculous notion, it hasn’t stopped such rumours spreading as rapidly across the globe as COVID-19 itself.

Don’t believe me? Then why would the federal government feel the need to release a statement such as this?

“There is no link between 5G and COVID-19. 5G does not cause COVID-19,” said Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy.

“It does not spread COVID-19. Nor does it increase the severity of COVID-19 or make people more susceptible to COVID-19.

“The scientific evidence shows that wireless telecommunications, including 5G, do not weaken people’s immune systems and do not place us at higher risk of getting viruses such as COVID-19. You can find more information about this on the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website.

“Turning off your wifi will not protect you from COVID-19. The best way you can protect yourself is to practise physical distancing and good hygiene, and to stay at home if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.”

Sounds ridiculous, right?

It’s a rumour that has researchers scratching their heads and seeking to better understand how misinformation such as this spreads, so they can come up with ways to intervene and prevent such perspectives from getting a foothold in the community.

A research team investigated how COVID-19 misinformation proliferated by using the same epidemiological techniques for modelling disease transmission. 

Led by Hariri Institute Faculty fellow Elaine Nsoesie, the team examined the spread of COVID-19 misinformation across eight English-speaking countries and recently published their findings in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

The researchers focused on myths about relationships between COVID-19 and alcohol, ginger root, the sun, 5G and hydroxychloroquine.

They found that some COVID-19 misinformation, such as the 5G rumour, spread exponentially across the countries – much like the coronavirus itself.

“There was such a rapid proliferation of any information at the onset of the pandemic that misinformation had a golden opportunity to enter the public conscience,” said Nina Cesare, a postdoctoral associate at the BU School of Public Health.

While rapid online responses to rumours by World Health Organization (WHO) officials significantly reduced the number of Google searches for that misinformation within a short time, the team was surprised that there still seemed to be a consistent, global misunderstanding of 5G technology. 

The “invented” relationship between COVID-19 and 5G spread faster than any of the other rumours they investigated. 

“I didn’t expect 5G to stand out among the misinformation as much as it did,” said Ms Nsoesie.

Even more surprising is that 5G technology isn’t ‘new’; rather, it’s an evolution of existing communication technologies, like 4G, that should already have earned public trust.

“5G is the new standard for communication technology. It allows for faster communication by using different frequencies and multiple antennas,” said Professor David Starobinski, from Boston University’s department of electrical and computer engineering. 

“It is an evolution of communication technology rather than a revolution”.

So, why do people believe it causes COVID-19?

For one, researchers blame the lack of transparency about communication technologies.

“I think the belief has something to do with a certain distrust in government and the ability to tie this narrative about 5G technology into conversations around government surveillance,” said Ms Cesare.

“This distrust is a concern even now, as myths around microchips being put into vaccines explode on Facebook.”

Some people might also worry that 5G technology emits invisible electromagnetic waves that could affect their health. 

“People are much more worried about things [like radiation] that they cannot see,” said Prof. Starobinski.

“People have been using smartphones for years and we don’t see evidence that this radiation has caused noticeable increase in diseases or hospitalisations due to usage,” he added, noting that “regulators have set limits on the radiation power of 5G devices, though additional safety studies may still be warranted.”

Researchers want to assure the public that such radiation cannot cause COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 is a viral disease that comes from the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2,” they say.

And they’re calling on better transparency and more information from government bodies, tech companies, health organisations and researchers to prevent such misinformation from ever taking root.

“We [researchers] need to humanise the conversations around misinformation and continue to share true information so that misinformation becomes less prevalent in the media,” said Ms Nsoesie.

Had you heard the rumour that 5G could cause COVID-19? What was the most ridiculous rumour you heard about COVID-19? Do you worry about 5G at all? What are your concerns?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 12
  1. 8

    How do those who believe 5G causes COVID-19, or increases the chances of catching it, rationalise that there are large parts of the world where 5G is not operating, yet the virus is as abundant and virulent as anywhere else?

    • 0

      Look at the evidence: the virus has been most deadly and serious in densely populated cities. Wuhan was one of the first cities to have been blanketed in 5G, New York not far behind. Country areas are rarely feeling effects of the covid19, it’s a city thing and has to do with pollution, 5G and other radiation. I bought myself a radiation meter and have travelled extensively. In big cities it’s almost impossible to escape radiation from mobile phones and wifi, it’s just everywhere. In some locations, like the Brisbane city mall, it’s at alarmingly high rates. Do some research into this, the 5G connection has been well documented but unsurprisingly this information is being suppressed. 5G will bring AI to the world and with it huge job losses and the loss of our freedoms.

    • 0

      Frankly – Are you serious. I can’t believe what I read. And you believe it ??
      Read Medical journals . Not Facebook and utube. Anyone can say they are a Dr or Scientist.
      I could put a video up tonight and say I’m a Dr and a scientist. And tell you your hair will change colour if you use a 5G phone.
      Too much false information out there and unfortunately some people who don’t research in right places believe it.
      I am medical. And I get emails from medical sites. That’s where I get my information.

  2. 8

    A recent anti-vacc internet post quote a very respectable science magazine saying “5G can cause black-outs and vomiting after only a short exposure”. They didn’t show the whole quote which revealed the magazine was writing about Fighter-pilots experiencing 5G (5 times gravity) in high-speed manoeuvres.

  3. 4

    I’ve heard all the conspiracy theory’s. Including vaccine makes you sterile.
    I don’t know how people come up with such fake news. And more so why people believe them.

  4. 6

    This unbelievably stupid idea is spread by the same bogans and rednecks who believe that watching footbrawl makes you more intelligent and we should follow their example and do drugs, be sexist, and do domestic violence and drink in excess so you don’t feel the punch in the head delivered by one hit wonders.
    The antivaxers are included in this description.
    Corona is delivering a “let’s be stupider” virus.

  5. 3

    The most ridiculous rumour about covid-19 is that everyone needs to be vaccinated against it. After all the publicity about not injecting drugs you know nothing about, the government wants to mandate the injection of drugs we know nothing about. And they wonder why there are conspiracy theories!

    • 1

      Oxleigh, is BillF2 one of the “bogans and rednecks” you refer to?

      I think so.

    • 0

      You are right there, BillF2! Too much doesn’t add up. The Queensland govt website I recently saw quoted 990,000 covid tests, 1468 cases and 8 deaths! Using common sense you would not call that a pandemic. I do trust our government to not fudge the numbers, unlike some countries are doing.

  6. 1

    Another COVID-19 myth is that there is a pandemic however that Statistics don’t support such a claim .

  7. 0

    I thought people on this site had some brains. Obviously not.
    Still people believing fake news.
    I am very happy to have the vaccine.



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