The coronavirus has continued to take its toll on the American economy – forcing non-essential businesses to shutter, driving up unemployment, and testing our healthcare system. But there has also been a fair amount of misinformation disseminated regarding the virus. CNN recently reported “One of the most recent, baseless conspiracy theories surrounding the virus is that 5G networks — the next generation of wireless technology that’s steadily being rolled out around the world — are fueling the global coronavirus pandemic.”
CNN and many other mainstream media outlets have been quick to quash misinformation regarding claims that 5G is spreading the coronavirus. 5G networks began being deployed in 2018, but have been more widely adopted over the past year – falling into the same time period in which COVID-19 developed in Wuhan, China. While conspiracy theorists were quick to link up the two, it is critical to keep in mind that correlation does not imply causation.
Unfounded claims about a supposed link between 5G and Covid-19 began circulating on the fringes of the internet, where New Agers and QAnon followers perpetuated the hoax that global elites were using 5G to spread the virus. Unsophisticated algorithms amplified those voices and ushered unsubstantiated theories into the mainstream.
Officials in the United Kingdom have expressed concerns that recent attacks on cell phone towers were motivated by false conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, actor Woody Harrelson and singer M.I.A. are among celebrities and influencers spreading such claims to their millions of followers.
There’s no evidence to support the theory that 5G networks cause Covid-19 or contribute to its spread.
As the CDC, President Trump, and state leaders have emphasized, coronavirus is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person from respiratory droplets. Many cases are transmitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and others are within close proximity. But you may also be able to contract the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then subsequently touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
While stopping the spread of the coronavirus is an extremely serious matter – it is important that we focus on the facts rather than spreading misinformation that could put people at an even greater risk.