Since the coronavirus outbreak started spreading around the world, unearthed claims of how the COVID-19 virus began have circulated online. Almost 60 masts have been set ablaze, including one that provided telecoms to the Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham, while this week two towers were vandalised in County Donegal in Ireland.
Similar attacks have been reported across Europe.
Theories linking telecoms networks to issues of public health have existed since 3G was introduced, although most people are unaware such schools of thought exist.
Conspiracy theorists have long thought that 3G was responsible for causing some cancers and infertility, theories that have never been proved.
Though few expected they would ever gain mainstream attention, with the likes of celebrity proponents such as Eamonn Holmes have attempted to give credit to the theories earlier this week.
This telecoms mast was set on fire
Telecoms workers are classed as key workers
Speaking on This Morning, he responded to another journalists’ statement dismissing claims 5G is linked to COVID-19.
He said: “I totally agree with everything you are saying but what I don’t accept is mainstream media immediately slapping that down as not true when they don’t know it’s not true.
“No one should attack or damage or do anything like that, but it’s very easy to say it is not true because it suits the state narrative. That’s all I would say, as someone with an inquiring mind.”
In the UK this week, the head of Vodafone UK issued a statement warning that lives were being endangered by a “dangerous lie” around 5G, and Michael Gove issued a statement calling the theory “dangerous nonsense”.
In an effort to stop the spread of the conspiracy, authorities have been forced to step in to publicly discredit it.
The World Health Organization has denied any link between the spread of coronavirus and 5G, while the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection backed up the claims further, saying 5G signals pose zero risks to human health.
Social media outlets have also joined the fight against the spread of misinformation, with Facebook putting warnings on posts it has found to be spreading disinformation.
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Where does the 5G conspiracy come from?
Firstly, there is no scientific evidence that links the coronavirus pandemic to 5G, nor a threat of any immediate negative health effects due to 5G.
Theories are not even consistent – there are several groups that believe 5G is the cause of the virus, while others believe that 5G makes the virus worse.
When lockdown measures were introduced in the UK, telecoms engineers, as key workers do, kept working.
Some were filmed doing this work and groups began to use this as evidence the Government was hiding something.
People have been setting fire to phone masts that do not give 5G coverage
For this particular faction, 5G wasn’t causing COVID-19 symptoms, it was now being used by the Government as a distraction, so 5G could be installed across the country without interruption.
Some claim the virus was made in a laboratory or that there was in fact no outbreak at all.
Some have even gone far enough to suggest that coronavirus is in the new design for the £20 note.
Despite this, there is no scientific evidence that links the coronavirus pandemic to 5G, nor a threat of any immediate negative health effects due to 5G.
5G uses a higher frequency of radio waves than 4G or 3G, but Ofcom has found 5G electromagnetic radiation levels are well below international guidelines.
Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity in the UK, has said: “In the middle of a public health crisis, when the normal operation of society has been turned on its head, it’s hardly surprising that people’s instincts around what is real and what is fake may become skewed.
“People are understandably scared, stressed and confused, and we need to take that into account in any response.
“Not everybody will be convinced: some people just like conspiracy theories, and they may not be persuaded by the facts.
“But as the fears around 5G have entered the mainstream, it’s on all of us to counter these arguments head on with clear, high-quality information to convince those who have questions and concerns, rather than simply dismiss them as foolish.”