Misinformation linking 5G to COVID-19 has been spreading online for months leading many to believe such claims.
Despite COVID-19 being a novel Coronavirus that affects the respiratory system, online conspiracy theories have falsely claimed that symptoms are caused by radiation emitted by 5G communication masts.
What is 5G ?
5G is the next generation of mobile network technology that is being rolled out across the UK, it will provide a faster and smoother internet connection for mobile users.
5G Masts emit minute amounts of radiation which are less than visible light itself.
The spread of misinformation has led to vandalism of mobile masts, arson and widespread speculation on social media.
Dozens of telephone masts were set ablaze over Easter Weekend leading mobile networks to issue a joint letter asking the public to help it stop
our networks are relied upon by the NHS, critical services and you. please take the time to read this ?and help us protect the UK’s critical infrastructure alongside @O2 @EE & @VodafoneUK pic.twitter.com/s5mgXVHFZJ
— Three UK (@ThreeUK) April 5, 2020
Prof Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Bristol, said that “damaging phone masts is like knocking holes in your lifeboats while your ship sinks.
Several of the masts vandalised had been providing critical infrastructure to the temporary NHS Nightingale hospitals.
In the first week of the Coronavirus ‘lockdown’, Ofcom carried out an online survey of 2,000 people.
Nearly half of respondents said they had come across false or misleading information about COVID19 that week.
I spoke with a support worker in Birmingham who has nightmares about COVID-19.
Speaking about the misinformation, she said;
“I heard about Coronavirus possibly being caused by 5G masts on a podcast, I’m unsure what to believe whether it’s on social media or from the government”
The essential worker said that she was “shocked and scared” to hear such claims.
Dr Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, said:
“The idea that COVID19 is caused by 5G mobile phone signals is complete rubbish.”
“Electromagnetic waves are one thing, viruses are another, and you can’t get a virus off a phone mast. Similarly, sensible studies have failed to corroborate the claim that the signals emitted by 5G masts are able to suppress our immune systems.”