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Here's why it's ridiculous to link COVID-19 outbreak to 5G antennas

While many tech enthusiasts are thrilled to get their hands on the new generation of network, some people think that 5G antennas help spread the new Coronavirus

By Becka MaisuradzePublished 4 years ago 5 min read

It is safe to say that the year 2020 has set off with a rough start. It wasn't even here when a new type of virus called COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, emerged in a Chinese province Wuhan. In just a few months in, the virus has already infected more than 1.5 million people and killed more than 120,000.

The scientific community has already found the root cause of the pandemic: Coronavirus has long existed in animals but not in humans. All of that changed when the notorious "Patient 0" ate the infected bat, which is a regular dish in Chinese cuisine. That person got infected with COVID-19 and initiated the spread across Wuhan first, then China, and then across the whole world.

This explanation seems to be enough for most people, as it should be. However, some people don't seem to be convinced by it. They are trying to find some alternative sources and catalysts to the pandemic and in the process, blame anyone from the government to the tech community. One such conspiracy theory is associated with 5G antennas. But before we dig into the argument, let's take a look at what the technology is all about.

The next generation of network

It was just a year ago that the 5G penetrated the public space when South Korea started setting up 5G antennas all across the country in April 2019. The technology promised to take current network connections to a whole new level.

The current 4G network is capable of establishing connection speeds at around 100Mbps, which is pretty good by any stretch of the imagination. However, according to the creators of 5G, the users will be able to connect to the network at around 10Gbps, 100 times more than what 4G is capable of.

With great speeds come great opportunities. The tech community has already set out plans to incorporate the new generation of the network into the Internet of Things (IoT) and the systems that are embedded in it: smart homes, smart universities, smart cities, and everything that has "smart" in its name. This is just a small portion of what 5G can come in handy for.

Recognizing the capabilities of 5G, countries all over the world started jumping at the opportunity. In the US, Europe, China, and lots of other countries, 5G antennas started to emerge, enabling users to establish connection speeds far greater than what they had ever imagined.

Not many people are happy with 5G

However, it seems like not many people are necessarily impressed with the prospects offered by 5G. They believe that due to high-frequency waves emitted by those antennas, our bodies become weaker and get infected by the Coronavirus.

Here's the short synopsis of their conspiracy theory: in order to establish blazing-fast internet speeds, a 5G antenna needs to emit high-frequency waves that actually have a very limited operational area. That's why it is important to scatter them in great numbers all across cities and other populated areas.

According to real science, extremely high-frequency waves penetrate our cells, heat them up, and render them unable to fight unknown viruses. That's the argument conspiracy theorists use against 5G: its waves weaken our immune system and make us perfect "platforms" for the new Coronavirus. This argument proved enough for them to take things into their hands: in the UK, for instance, people have brunt several 5G antennas down.

There's absolutely no connection between 5G and COVID-19

Now, it is plain ridiculous to take this argument seriously, however, just to give conspiracy theorists the benefit of the doubt, let's say that it is true that 5G antennas are to be blamed for the spread of Coronavirus. With this assumption, let's tackle each of the conspiracy arguments individually and establish/negate their credibility.

The first real question we have to as is where exactly do the Coronavirus and 5G technology coincide with each other? Because while there are over 7,000 5G antennas all across the world, the majority of countries are still outside the coverage area and they still have thousands of infection cases anyway.

For example, countries like Iran, India, and Japan don't have a full-blown 5G infrastructure set up yet. In Iran, the regulations for adopting 5G have just been finalized, yet the country has more than 70,000 COVID-19 cases already with almost 5,000 people deceased. India may not even be considering the adoption due to the virus outbreak and Japan has just started rolling out new network infrastructure, which couldn't have been linked to the spread of Coronavirus even in the most blatant fantasy world.

On the other hand, we have South Korea where things are moving in exactly the opposite direction: even though the country was a pioneer in adopting 5G commercially, the pandemic only emerged in South Korea when it started off in Wuhan first. Therefore, for around a year, 5G antennas were emitting their high-frequency signals without infecting anyone.

5G waves aren't that strong

Speaking of high-frequency waves, conspiracy theorists, as we noted earlier, base their claims on the damaging nature of 5G waves. They believe that those antennas emit very strong waves that can damage our bodies.

Now, scientists in different fields agree on one thing that extremely high-frequency waves have the ability to heat up the cell, weaken the immune system, and allow viruses to easily penetrate the body. However, when it comes to 5G, these waves are simply not powerful enough to penetrate anything.

According to Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, 5G waves just cannot lower a person's immune system. These waves, just like those of 4G and 3G, actually have quite low-frequency waves when compared to the ionizing radiation sources such as X-ray, gamma rays, or ultraviolet rays.

Besides, viruses and radio waves transmit in very different ways. On the one hand, there are viruses that only transmit from one person to another through saliva (sneezing, coughing, etc.). On the other hand, radio waves of normal networks (3G, 4G, 5G) are completely digital and the only virus they can transmit is the computer virus, not something that is physical.

Where did people get this idea?

Given how ridiculous the claim is, it is interesting how these people came up with an explanation like that. As it turned out, they used an article published in a Belgian newspaper. Defying every scientific evidence, the article claimed that 5G is dangerous to human life and is linked to the spread of Coronavirus as the 5G technology emerged in Wuhan, China.

What's even more interesting is that the same author later admitted that he had "not done a fact check" and his claims were misguided. Unfortunately, conspiracy theorists were already aboard this ridiculous ship and were creating various "influential" pages on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and destroying 5G antennas in the UK.

Apart from the above-mentioned article in the Belgian newspaper, there have been other conspiracy theories originating from various disinformation campaigns. According to a New York Times report, Russian propaganda campaigns actively targeted the 5G network and warned people against its dangers.

But as the general science says, there's only one way a 5G antenna can kill someone: if it loses balance and drops on top of a person. As for weakening the immune system and spreading COVID-19, it is complete and utter nonsense.

fact or fiction

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    Becka MaisuradzeWritten by Becka Maisuradze

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