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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