Antonio Guterres, the United Nations (UN) Chief tweeted “Our common enemy is #COVID-19, but our enemy is also an “infodemic” of misinformation. To overcome the #coronavirus, we need to urgently promote facts and science, hope and solidarity over despair and division”.
The United Nations (UN) Department of Global Communications and the World Health Organization (WHO), has warned against the infodemic of misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 global crisis. From selling fake coronavirus cures online to a cyber attack on hospitals’ critical information systems, criminals are exploring the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a gathering of Foreign Policy and Security experts in Munich, Germany, in mid-February, “we are not just fighting an epidemic; we are fighting an infodemic”.
Conspiracy theory peddlers went viral on the internet, sprouting fear in the minds of people, that the 5G mobile technologies are somehow connected to the coronavirus pandemic. The questions on everyone’s mind are: Could it be true? Are we under the attack of an experiment and the need to control the world by a group? Is it possible to have a cure? What could be the end results for the world at large? Here are the things we need to know about 5G mobile technologies, and its connection with coronavirus.
What is 5G?
5G means 5th Generation Mobile Technology, which relies on signals carried by radio waves and are used by mobile networks. We all are familiar with the 4G, which is the 4th Generation Mobile Technology for Long Term Evolution (LTE) and high-speed (10 times faster than 3G) mobile internet. We also have the 3G, which is the 3rd Generation Mobile Technology for voice and mobile data. There are 2G (2ND Generation Mobile Technology) for digital voice and 1G (1st Generation Mobile Technology) for analog voice.
The posts on the internet claim that 5G, in their opinion, is responsible for the coronavirus ravaging the world. These theories were first noticed on Facebook, in January, when the United States of America recorded their first victims of coronavirus. The claims are:
- The electromagnetic radiation from 5G suppresses the immune system, thereby making people more susceptible to coronavirus.
- Coronavirus is transmitted through the use of 5G technology.
- Coronaviruses communicate with themselves when deciding on a person to infect.
Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading said “The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Your immune system can be dipped by all sorts of thing like being tired one day, or not having a good diet. Radio waves can disrupt your physiology as they heat up, meaning your system cannot function. But the energy levels from 5G radio waves are tiny and they are nowhere near strong enough to affect your immune system. There have been lots of studies on this”.
Kate Lewis of full facts said “Radio waves are small parts of a wider electromagnetic spectrum of waves, which all emit energy called electromagnetic radiation. Radio waves are found at the low-frequency end of the spectrum, and alongside microwaves, visible lights and heat-only produce non-ionizing radiation. This means that these waves cannot damage the DNA inside cells.
Adam Finn, professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol said “The present epidemic is caused by a virus that is passed from one infected person to another. We know this is true. We even have the virus growing in our lab, obtained from a person with the illness. Viruses and electromagnetic waves that make mobile phones and internet connections work are different things, as different as chalk and cheese”.
Rotem Sorek, associate professor of Department of Molecular Genetics, and his team at Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel made a discovery while looking for communication between bacteria infected by phages (viruses that infect bacteria). They found that as a phage infects a cell, it releases a tiny protein (a peptide just six amino acids long) that serves as a message to its brethren: “I have taken a victim”. As the phages infect more cells, the message gets louder, signalling that infected hosts are becoming scarce. Phages then put a halt to lysis (the process of replicating and breaking out of their hosts) and instead stay hidden in a sluggish state called lysogeny. It turned out that viruses did not depend on bacteria to make their decisions. So does this mean coronaviruses communicate with each other?
According to Qualcomm, 5G is the best thing since its predecessor 4G. It is supposed to improve the performance and efficiency of the mobile network by connecting more people, and also connecting and controlling machines, objects, and devices. There will be a more satisfactory experience for users all over the world due to its introduction of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It has better speed, low latency like remote control of infrastructure, vehicles, and medical procedures. It has a small cell site and can accommodate more users. It also provides a low-cost solution for users while generating more revenue for the company.
The radio waves involved in 5G and other mobile phone technology sit on the low-frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are less powerful than visible light and therefore not strong enough to damage cells like sun rays and medical x-rays. Television, radio transmitters, radar, satellite communications, smart meters, some modern medical laboratory equipment etc all use radio waves, but within the acceptable limits and guidelines.
It is impossible for 5G to transmit coronavirus as it is a known fact that the virus is transmitted via liquid droplets from coughs or sneezes, or touching contaminated surfaces. Coronavirus has spread and it is still spreading in countries where 5G is not yet in use.
According to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), there is no evidence that mobile networks cause cancer or other illnesses. Coronavirus can survive in hot weather. High dose of chloroquine medication cannot protect you from coronavirus. Consuming large quantities of ginger and garlic cannot prevent the virus from infecting a person. Having this in mind, everyone should rest easy, and keep practising safety instead of worrying about 5G.