In the last few weeks, conspiracy theories suggesting that 5G is causing and spreading coronavirus (Covid-19) has emerged and circulating across news media channels and social media platforms.
Theories about the dangers of 5G have been around since the wireless technology was launched in 2019, but have gained more traction the past few weeks as a result of it being linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has brought about some arsenic attacks on 5G cell towers in some countries, particularly in the UK.
In Africa and in Ghana, a renowned Charismatic Preacher and founder of the Believers Love World Church, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, in a recent sermon online weighed in with comments about the conspiracies surrounding 5G and its link to Covid-19. The issue has since become a trending conversation on Twitter and Facebook in Ghana, Nigeria and other African countries.
Essentially, the claims being circulated around by the conspiracy theorist are that radiation from 5G networks negatively affects the immune system of humans thereby making it weak to fight the Covid-19 should one be infected. Also, they assert that 5G can transmit the virus.
Does the Radiation from 5G Weaken the Immune System?
5G, or fifth Generation, is the latest wireless mobile phone technology. It was first widely deployed in 2019 and is expected to increase performance in a wide range of new applications and generally improve mobile technology experience.
All generations of mobile phones work using what’s known as electromagnetic energy. The kind of electromagnetic energy used by mobile phones is known as radiofrequency. It is also referred to as radio waves.
According to the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Protection Agency (Arpansa), mobile phone radiation is non-ionising. Thus, it doesn’t damage DNA like ionising radiation from x-rays does.
Also, the International Commission of the Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in seven-year-long scientific study published in March 2020 specifies that 5G has no detrimental health effects.
Further, the World Health Organisation (WHO) after much research also confirms that there is no negative health effect associated with wireless technologies. WHO indicates that despite the fact that more research is needed on 5G, which is also a wireless technology, no harm has been traced as at February, 2020.
“To date, and after much research performed, no adverse health effect has been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies. Health-related conclusions are drawn from studies performed across the entire radio spectrum but, so far, only a few studies have been carried out at the frequencies to be used by 5G,” WHO has said.
Can 5G transmit Coronavirus?
As already indicated, a number of credible scientific sources, including the WHO, confirms there is no evidence 5G causes health problems. Also, 5G radiation which is non-ionising can’t penetrate human skin, or allow a virus to penetrate the skin.
Stanford University School of Medicine indicates that viruses are enveloped in a protein shell. In an article published on the Conversation, a journalism portal that publishes academic research, Stanley Shanapinda, a research fellow at La Trobe University, also indicates that the protein shell of Covid-19 cannot keep 5G radio signals.
“The protein shell of the coronavirus is incapable of hijacking 5G radio signals. This is because radiation and viruses exist in different forms that do not interact. One is a biological phenomenon and the other exists on the electromagnetic spectrum,” Shanapinda wrote.
Further, the WHO explains that COVID-19 spreads through small droplets released from the nose or mouth of an infected person when they talk, sneeze, cough, spit, or exhale. The virus gets transmitted when the droplets come into contact with the nose, eyes or mouth of another person. WHO has not as yet indicated that 5G transmits or contributes to the transmission of Covid-19.