We are currently in the middle of a world crisis, a pandemic, one that does not discriminate against any one. Corona-virus or better known as COVID-19 has spread across the world, killing people at an unprecedented rate and while some countries are starting to control the infection rate, little is still known about COVID-19. The unfortunate downside to this is that while facts remain limited, the floor is left open for conspiracy theorists to circulate their thoughts. Now, don't get me wrong! I love reading and finding out about conspiracy theories in general but sometimes theory alone doesn't hold weight, nor does it mean it is true in its entirety. The problem however, is some people 'believe everything they read' and 'jump of the band wagon' without knowing all the facts and the same is true when we talk about COVID-19 and 5G technology.
You heard right! Conspiracy theories linking COVID-19 to 5G technology.
With the world locked down and everybody working/staying at home, there probably hasn't been a better time for conspiracy theories to take-off and reach as many people as possible than today. With that said, it seems that the latest conspiracy regarding COVID-19 and 5G technology is that 5G is causing COVID-19 and killing people. As a result of this, those that believe in this theory are destroying telephone masts where 5G connectivity may be located.
With that said, I wanted to create this article to focus on the facts that are known today about COVID-19 and 5G and hopefully educate those that 'just believe' without reading between the lines.
Now to be very clear, I am NOT a medical expert but I am an IT professional so while my knowledge may be slightly limited in a medical sense I do have knowledge in the IT space. My opinion is not representative of the company in which I work nor the evidence referenced, they are simply based on the conclusions draw from the research that I've conducted.
Note: I am not being paid by anybody or any company to write this article. I was just simply sick of the bullsh*t conspiracy theories floating around about this topic so I wanted to add my 2 cents based on the research that I have done.
5G, a successor to 4G is a wireless technology that is apart of something called an electromagnetic spectrum. The same spectrum is used for 3G, 4G, X-Rays and even Microwaves among many other things. Where devices sit on the spectrum all depends on the frequency that they emit, this is an important thing to remember and I will explain why below.
The above photo is a CNet.com Photo; the graph shows where the higher range 5G frequencies land on the electromagnetic spectrum.
Some frequencies are capable of traveling longer distances than other frequencies. In fact the higher the frequency the shorter the wavelength and the lower the frequency the higher the wavelength, meaning it can travel further. 5G operates at around 30GHz - 300GHz, this is higher than 4G which operates at around 6GHz. Looking at the difference in frequencies, it's clear to see that 4G can travel further than 5G. This means that if companies want to roll out 5G, the likelihood of needing new cell towers is highly likely if your area/city is to become '5G ready'. Not getting into the details of distance between cell towers but I just want to point out that in the light of what I've mentioned about frequencies, if 5G is to be enabled, cell towers need to be within a closer proximity (100 - 200m) to one another. In turn this means cell towers will need to be deployed closer to residential locations.
To summarize the last paragraph, this would explain why new 5G towers have been popping up more recently and unfortunately around the same time that COVID-19 became a thing.
Sticking with the same photo, notice the words 'Non-Ionizing' and 'Ionizing'. The two words are important when we talk about frequencies because we essentially start to focus on radiation. Not all radiation is bad radiation or life threatening radiation and in fact the dictionary describes radiation as "The process in which energy is emitted as particles or waves".
Focusing on Non-Ionizing radiation, if we look at the photo above, you can see that TV's, mobile phones and PC's to name a few fall under non-ionizing frequencies. This type of radiation is NOT carry enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules. Simply put non-ionizing radiation isn't considered dangerous compared to ionizing radiation because it cannot pass through living tissue. However, this is not to say non-ionizing radiation isn't harmful because it can be with excessive usage (as with most things). The CDC states"Exposure to intense, direct amounts of non-ionizing radiation may result in damage to tissue due to heat". Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified ALL radio frequency radiation "possibly carcinogenic". This means that there is evidence that falls short of being conclusive that exposure may cause cancer in humans. But remember, this is for all radio frequencies and not just based on 5G. Now before saying 'I told you so' its important to remember that this report dates back to 2011, a time where 3G and 4G was already about. To add to this the World Health Organization (WHO) did further research in 2014, looking at electromagnetic fields in mobile phones and how they potentially pose a threat to the public. When reading the report you see that exposure with mobile devices have always when it comes to mobile devices as they transmit radio frequencies. Furthermore, WHO suggests that the research on short-term affects between radio frequency energy and the human body don't show any adverse affects on the human body. In regards to long-term radio frequency effects on humans, WHO suggests that although there may be some signs of increased risk of glioma for participants who were shown to have the most mobile phone usage however, also pointed out that the researchers concluded that tests weren't accurate enough to come to a conclusion.
Moving onto Ionizing radiation, this type of radiation is at the opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Referencing the CDC again, they describe Ionizing radiation as "a form of energy that acts by removing electrons from atoms and molecules of materials that include air, water, and living tissue. Ionizing radiation can travel unseen and pass through these materials". This means ionizing radiation has the ability to penetrate living tissue and is more dangerous than non-ionizing radiation.
To summarize, non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, 5G functions among non-ionizing radiation, the same part of the spectrum to which 3G, 4G, Microwaves and even computers operate at. The only difference I see between 5G and its predecessors is the frequencies in which they operate at. The research conducted by WHO in 2011 and 2014 is not just relevant for 5G, it is also relevant for older mobile technology.
Although WHO classified all radio frequencies as possibly carcinogenic under Group 2B, from what I could find, research to prove that they are actually in fact carcinogenic doesn't exist. It is also important to point out that other items classified under: Group 2B: The agent is possibly carcinogenic to humans include other everyday items such as:
Diesel Engine Exhaust fumes
Sun tanning beds for example fall under ionizing radiation because they expose the user to ultraviolet rays. If we just think about that for a second, I think that the lack of understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum has caused people to 'jump on the hype' and start vandalizing cell towers. Yes, cell towers are exposed to more of the public but based on what we know so far, ionizing or ultraviolet radiation is much worst.
COVID-19 is the abbreviation for CoronaVirus Disease and it is part of a larger family of diseases that range from a cold to more serious viruses. As per the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) you can catch COVID-19 "from others who have the virus through inhaling small droplets from infected people who cough or sneeze or through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching nose, mouth or eyes".
Although health professionals are still speculating how the virus came to be and how it has been transmitted to humans, it is thought that the virus originated from a live stock wet market in the Wuhan province in China. This is similar to the SARS outbreak in 2003 but unlike COVID-19, SARS didn't become a global pandemic.
To date, not much else is known about the virus and no vaccine exists. All we know that so far is that some people get mild symptoms while for others, it can be potentially life threatening.
To summarize, based on the limited information that is available on COVID-19 I cannot see any direct correlation between 5G and COVID-19, nor can I see how 5G could cause COVID-19. I looked into radiation therapy and although this operates within the ionizing part of the spectrum, this is used to treat cancer such as lung cancer and not cause it. The point I am trying to make is that, this type of radiation can penetrate human tissue but yet no link is show as to how radiation could cause respiratory disease such as COVID-19.
I have provided my opinions throughout this article but I will finish off by providing my opinions to comments that I have seen floating around the Internet in regards to the correlation between 5G and COVID-19.
"Why are you laying 5G?, this is giving people corona virus and killing people"
You cannot 'lay' 5G, however, you can lay cabling for 5G. There is no evidence to show that 5G and COVID-19 are linked.
"5G is the cause of COVID-19"
What evidence have you seen to make that comment? Based on my research that I've shared above as well as my understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, there is no link to 5G and COVID-19 whatsoever. 5G is within the same spectrum (non-ionizing) as other mobile technologies such as 3G and 4G, it just operates at an higher frequency. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, something of which this side of the spectrum wouldn't be able to cause judging by my research.
Burning down cell towers is not only vandalism, but you are potentially put others at risk for theories that don't hold true at this point. Not only that you are potentially going to drive up the cost of consumer products such as mobile phone tariffs (someone has to foot the bill). Understanding the electromagnetic spectrum and how mobile devices pose a potential risk, one would think that those burning down cell towers should have been doing so since they were put up and certainly when 3G and 4G were announced.
I don't believe there is any link whatsoever between 5G and COVID-19! Based on my research and already added summaries throughout this article, I would also like to add that I think potential long-term exposure to mobile devices could pose some types of risks as mentioned in Scientific America but in regards to 5G specifically, it's too new and not enough conclusive research has been performed yet from what I can see.
Take from this post what you will but for those who believe there is some sort of link I'd be interested in seeing the factual information that you have, especially if you believe so strongly in destroying these cell towers.
I hope that you've found this article useful and for those that would like to add further supporting evidence to either side of the conspiracy theories, please reach out to me.