United Church of Christ – Wider Church Ministries
Humanitarian Development Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Briefing
Barbara T. Baylor, MPH – Temporary Health Liaison
Are 5G networks spreading the coronavirus?
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, I have heard, as have many of you, that 5G technology fueled the pandemic and is responsible for its spread.
The International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP) states: “Electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from 5G devices does not cause COVID-19, nor does it have any effect on the disease process or health outcomes of those who are infected by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. As described by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you need to come into contact physically with the coronavirus to become infected by it, and as the EMFs from 5G cannot carry viruses, they cannot bring you into contact with the virus.”
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also responded to the rumor saying, "5G technology does NOT cause coronavirus. The theory attempting to link the pandemic to 5G is senseless. The coronavirus is caused by a contagious virus, and it's spreading in areas of the world that don't yet have 5G technology!”
Still, many ill-informed and ill-advised persons are spreading several theories linking 5G and COVID-19. So let's drill a little deeper into this subject and separate fiction from fact.
FICTION: 5G networks cause the spread of COVID-19, or symptoms of the infection.
FICTION: Electromagnetic radiation from 5G weakens the immune system, helping the virus to thrive and makes people more susceptible to infection.
FICTION: Viruses can communicate through radio waves. “Viruses 'talk to each other when making decisions about infecting a host.”
FICTION: Public Law No. 116-129 was passed deliberately while everyone was distracted by COVID-19 so that 5G cellular data towers could be installed. Children had to be out of schools for the covert installation. In a March 28 post, a Facebook user refers to Public Law No. 116-129 and claims the government is taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to distract from the installation of 5G cellular data towers. The post also lists 20 purported symptoms of 5G exposure, including shortness of breath and fever - symptoms similar to those of COVID-19.
Full Fact and PolitiFact have engaged in extensive research to prove these claims are false. Here are the facts.
FACT: A 2011 research paper suggests that bacteria may produce electromagnetic signals to communicate with other bacteria. This hypothesis is disputed, and refers in any event to bacteria and not viruses - and COVID-19 is a virus.
FACT: Like previous wireless network technology (4G, 3G and 2G), 5G mobile data is transmitted over a higher frequency of radio waves. Other types of technology that use radio waves include smart meters, TV and radio transmitters, and radar and satellite communications. Based on the research done at the Isle of Wight College, the level of radiation from 5G is far below levels of electromagnetic radiation thought to cause damage to cells in the human body. ICNIRP (2020) restrictions have been set to ensure that EMFs will remain far lower than that required to adversely affect health. Accordingly, 5G exposures will not cause any harm providing that they adhere to the ICNIRP (2020) guidelines.
Millimeter-wave technology has been used since post 9/11. Have you ever gone through airport screening? Enhanced screening systems known as Advanced Imaging Technology systems or full-body scanners have been used for almost 10 years.
FACT: On March 23, President Donald Trump signed Public Law 116-129, which requires the President to work with federal agencies to "secure and protect" 5G infrastructure in the United States. The Act requires the President to develop and implement a strategy for the adoption of secure wireless communications technology in the United States and abroad. It does not explicitly provide for the installation of more cell towers. This legislation was introduced last spring and was passed by the full Senate on March 4, 2020.
FACT: There is NO evidence that the new law was deliberately passed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The technology is the latest upgrade to speed up wireless internet connections. While experts do say that there are some possible health effects (e.g. neurological, which is disputed) when using higher frequencies, it is not enough to be overly concerned at this point. More research and experiments are needed. In any event, any health effects from 5G are NOT COVID-19. The key takeaway is that the new wireless technology is not connected to COVID-19.
FACT: COVID-19 is spreading in places around the world without 5G networks. For example, there are no 5G networks at all in Iran, yet Iran has been severely affected by COVID-19.
Where did these false theories originate from?
Misinformation about the health effects of 5G can be traced to a 2019 propaganda campaign promoted by Russian state television.
The best way to keep yourself up on the truth about the coronavirus and other issues is to read and/or listen to information from trusted news sources - and ask questions!
WHO: Electromagnetic fields and public health
How the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory went from fringe to mainstream