In the past year, many countries have faced the challenge of Coronavirus and the major obstacle of fake news and conspiracy theories. Like in any crisis, misinformation spreads faster than the truth. With little information on the novel virus, conspiracy theories began to pop up linking the virus to the new 5G wireless connection.
In Nigeria, top religious and political leaders sadly reinforced and endorsed these theories. 5G conspiracy theories are untrue and dangerous, as believing them can lead to civil disobedience and flagrant disregard for laid down preventive protocol.
Let’s dissect some of these stories and why they are untrue;
MYTH: COVID-19 is caused by 5G
This is not the first time advancement in telecommunication has been linked with the spread of diseases. As far back as 1903, doctors reported talks of radiophobia. In the 1970s, some people expressed fear of power lines and microwaves. By the 1990s, conspiracy theorists kicked against 2G technology, claiming it could cause cancer.
This year, the claim is that the technological evolution of the 5G network is the cause of COVID-19. Conspiracy theorists hinge the virus to 5G waves and claim that the state and nationwide lockdowns were a ploy to install cables, thereby widening the spread.
The WHO, world-renowned scientists, and other researchers have confirmed that COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus first discovered in Wuhan, China. Though the development of the 5G network had started in China, the U.S., Japan, and several other developed countries that recorded cases of the virus, the virus cannot be pinned to this development. Developing nations like Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Iran recorded thousands of COVID-19 cases despite the absence of any 5G infrastructure.
MYTH: 5G weakens the immune system
Another prevalent 5G conspiracy theory is the claim that it weakens the immune system and makes one susceptible to the virus. Conspiracy theorists claim that high-frequency radiation from 5G waves causes internal damage in the body and enhances the spread of the virus.
Contrary to conspiracy theories, 5G falls under the spectrum of non-ionising low-frequency waves. Scientific research has proven with sufficient evidence that non-ionizing radiations, also used by WiFi, do not cause internal damage to your cells.
High-frequency waves used by X-rays and other medical imaging are ionizing and can cause internal damage after prolonged exposure.
MYTH: 5G transmits COVID-19
Some theories claim that the wireless 5G network transmits COVID-19, and lockdown in major cities like Abuja and Lagos was an avenue to install cables to enhance the virus’s spread. This particular theory gained greater credence after being endorsed by a famous clergyman.
COVID-19 has been confirmed to spread through respiratory droplets hence the use of masks for prevention. The virus can be spread from person to person or when you come in contact with infected surfaces. The virus can’t be spread by 5G technology.
Conspiracy theories are almost as dangerous as the COVID-19 virus itself. Arm yourself with information on the symptoms, transmission and treatment of COVID-19.