Experts dismiss claims that 5G wireless technology created the novel coronavirus

A contract crew for Verizon, works on a cell tower to update it to handle the new 5G network in Orem, Utah on December 10, 2019. (AFP / George Frey)

Numerous conspiracy theories shared on and off social media claim that 5G mobile networks are the cause of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is false; experts told AFP that 5G is based on radio frequency and that this does not create viruses.

In one of the most widespread claims, popular American singer Keri Hilson asserted that coronavirus is caused by fifth-generation wireless technology, known as 5G. In a series of now-deleted tweets on March 16, 2020 (archived here), Hilson claimed  COVID-19 was not as widespread in Africa because of the absence of 5G.

“People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS. Petitions, organizations, studies…what we’re going through is the effects of radiation. 5G launched in CHINA. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead,” she wrote. “Turn off 5G by disabling LTE!!! Why do you think the virus is not happening in Africa like that? Not a 5G region. There may be a few bases there, but not as prevalent as other countries. It has nothing to do with melanin.”

Hilson shared a viral YouTube video in which controversial American doctor Thomas Cowan, who remains on probation imposed by the Medical Board of California, argued that the novel coronavirus was created by 5G networks.

In his video, Cowan claimed that Wuhan, the city where the novel coronavirus outbreak began, was the first city wholly covered by 5G in the world. Cowan and others who believe his theory claim that China launched 5G in October 2019 — two months before the outbreak started.

Some of these claims about 5G causing novel coronavirus have been made in Facebook posts shared thousands of times, including a photograph of a poster accusing 5G network towers of being “the real cause for the virus deaths”.

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About Cholo Brooks 12226 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.