Despite the fact that 5G has no credible link to cancer or any other illness, conspiracy theories still flourish on social media and certain parts of the internet.
Now, amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, conspiracy theorists have ramped up the paranoia by fabricating a story connecting 5G to the spread of COVID-19. These baseless claims have now lead to cell phone towers being torched and engineers abused in the UK.
Earlier this week, a 70-foot (20-meter) cell phone tower mast in Birmingham was set aflame, and a video of the event spread among several anti-5G groups on Facebook. These videos were later removed by Facebook, which encouraged other social media platforms to do the same.
Police are still investigating the cause of the fire, but EE engineers who were on the scene suspect it was the work of arsonists. On Friday, yet another tower was torched, this time in Merseyside. Both the mast and control panels were damaged before fire and rescue services could extinguish the flames.
This is just the latest outburst of anti-5G sentiment in the UK, where throughout the past month telecoms workers have been harassed by conspiracy-toting residents. As many in the country work from home, these workers are classified as essential to keep necessary communications online.
Remote workers, hospitals, and emergency services all rely on telecoms services, and damaging crucial infrastructure only impedes these efforts. In most cases, workers being harassed were installing fiber optic cables that had nothing to do with 5G.
Theories linking 5G to COVID-19 have been thoroughly debunked.
The situation is so dire that home broadband engineers have taken to posting pleas on anti-5G Facebook groups. Still, it hasn’t stopped residents from accusing them of spreading the virus to their friends and family.
Previous conspiracies have centered around cell phone radiation, but experts agree that the non-ionizing radiation from phones and other wireless connections is largely harmless, classifying it with the same cancer-causing capabilities of pickles and aloe vera extract.
As for the connection between 5G and COVID-19, the spread in countries that have yet to roll out the technology like Japan and Iran should disprove any budding theories. Independent fact checking organization Full Fact has also investigated the claims, and found that there is absolutely no truth to them whatsoever.