With conspiracy theories claiming 5G is somehow connected to the Coronavirus pandemic, scientists and the UK authorities have debunked these myths as “complete rubbish”.
Videos and social media posts have been shared on platforms including Facebook and WhatsApp suggesting that Coronavirus is related to 5G radio signals being ‘switched on’. Despite the fact that 5G has been up and running for almost a year prior to the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, whilst this conspiracy theory can easily be disproved, hysteria has led to harassment of people working to install 5G. And news reports emerged over the weekend of 5G phone masts actually being set on fire in Birmingham and Liverpool.
There appear to be two ‘theories’ that point blame at 5G. One suggests that 5G affects the human immune system making us more susceptible to infection, and the other suggests that 5G technology actually transmits the virus.
5G conspiracy theories are gathering steam not just on social media but also on national television. TV presenter Eamonn Holmes seemed to support the 5G conspiracy theories while hosting ITV This Morning.
During an on screen discussion with Alice Beer, This Morning's consumer editor, Holmes seemed to suggest he didn’t believe the debunking of 5G conspiracy theories. He said: "What I don't accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don't know it's not true.”
Of course, there's no evidence to back up these claims, and NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis dismissed them as "the worst kind of fake news".
To further put these conspiracy theories to rest, Coronavirus cases have been recorded in places where there is no 5G, such as parts of the UK and entire countries such as Iran.
In a time where there is genuine concern, the spread of misinformation can be dangerous, and it's important to separate the facts from fake news.
Speaking to BBC News, Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading debunked the immune system claim: “5G radio waves are tiny and they are nowhere near strong enough to affect the immune system. There have been lots of studies on this."
And Adam Finn, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol also speaking to BBC News, made it clear that 5G can in no way transmit the virus.
"The present epidemic is caused by a virus that is passed from one infected person to another. We know this is true. We even have the virus growing in our lab, obtained from a person with the illness. Viruses and electromagnetic waves that make mobile phones and internet connections work are different things. As different as chalk and cheese.”