Fact Check: Is 5G spreading coronavirus?

As countries around the world battle to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, there have been several claims around the disease which has killed more than a million persons worldwide.

The most recent claim about the virus is the insidious links between the roll out of 5G networks and coronavirus.

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Two conspiracy theories support the claim that 5G is aiding the new coronavirus. Firstly that 5G might suppress the immune system and, secondly, that viruses can communicate through radio waves.

The claims have gone viral on social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, as much as the virus – verified accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers also shared same sentiments.

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The claims were topped by the videos showing mobile phone masts on fire in Birmingham and Merseyside.

What is 5G?

5G is a wireless mobile network that was deployed in 2019 to help improve telecommunications and mobile connectivity.

It works at a higher wave frequency than its predecessors in order to allow for this upgrade in usage.

5G coronavirus
Theorists claim coronavirus is just a cover up of the dangers of 5G – Copyright Ng Han Guan/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

So – is 5G aiding/causing coronavirus?

The right answer to this question is NO.

Neither of the two theories is backed up by any evidence.

“Both these notions are “complete rubbish,” Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, told BBC.

“The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” Dr Clarke says.

“Your immune system can be dipped by all sorts of thing – by being tired one day, or not having a good diet. Those fluctuations aren’t huge but can make you more susceptible to catching viruses.”

No evidence that 5G networks are harmful to health

Like the older generations of wireless network technology (4G, 3G and 2G), 5G mobile data is transmitted over radio waves. Radio waves are a small part of a wider electromagnetic spectrum of waves, which all emit energy called electromagnetic radiation.

Radio waves are found at the low-frequency end of the spectrum and—alongside microwaves, visible light and heat—only produce non-ionising radiation. This means that these waves cannot damage the DNA inside cells, which is how waves with higher frequencies (such as x-rays, gamma rays and ultraviolet light) are thought to cause cancer.

To improve the speed and capacity of our wireless technology, 5G uses a higher frequency of radio waves compared to its previous generations. The frequency of this new wireless technology remains very low: the maximum levels of electromagnetic radiation measured by Ofcom were about 66 times smaller than the safety limits set by international guidelines.

Public Health England states that “the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.”

The new coronavirus is also spreading in places without 5G networks. Nigeria is the only country in West African that has witnessed the 5G network and it was only launched for “trials” in November. Most of the other West African countries that do not have the 5G network have recorded the coronavirus.

Also, there are many parts of the UK that do not have 5G coverage yet, but are still affected by the virus (for example, Milton Keynes and Portsmouth).

There are no 5G networks at all in Iran, yet this country has been severely affected by coronavirus.

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