Sometimes conspiracy theories can be amusing. But linking communications technology 5G to COVID-19 is not one of them.
There’s a lot of misinformation circulating regarding COVID-19 and among the more “out there” conspiracy theories is 5G is somehow causing or accelerating it.
It’s not totally clear how this evolved, but myth and misinformation busters Snopes reports a video circulated on social media in March supposedly depicted a 5G tower being torn down in China because people feared it was causing COVID-19. That was then shared early this month by an American celebrity.
As it turns out, the image was from August 2019 – well before the first case of the coronavirus and what the folks in the image were tearing down wasn’t a 5G tower, but a “smart” light post in Hong Kong.
The roots of the conspiracy theory are likely much earlier. Wired reports a general practitioner from Putte, near Antwerp apparently alluded to a potential link between COVID-19 and 5G – and that “lit the fuse” as Wired puts it. The publication involved withdrew the article just hours after it was published, but the damage had been done. Removal could have stoked it further as evidence of a ” cover up”.
While it’s easy to roll our eyes at this particular conspiracy theory, people are being abused and damage has been done to infrastructure in the UK. The Guardian reported this week that at least 20 UK phone telecommunications masts have been vandalised over false 5G coronavirus claims and telecoms engineers maintaining critical infrastructure have been confronted.
ARPANSA: 5G Is Safe
5G was a touchy subject even before this and other wild theories have been bandied about concerning 5G’s impact on human health. So whether it’s COVID-19, brain tumours or birds falling out of the sky, is there anything to really worry about concerning 5G’s safety?
As we mentioned in September last year, the concerns regarding 5G are similar to the technologies preceding it; e.g. 4G and 3G. It’s good for people to question new technologies. It’s not so good when those concerns have been based on misinformation they’ve been provided.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has indicated there is no established evidence for health effects from radio waves used in mobile telecommunications, including 5G.
“ARPANSA’s assessment is that 5G is safe,” stated the body in a submission last year to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts Inquiry into 5G in Australia.
Regardless, in December 2019, the Federal Government announced it would be spending millions to further research and boost confidence in new telecommunications technologies including 5G – and to bust related myths.
Find out more about the benefits of 5G in terms of broadband connectivity.