This month I was supposed to be covering the theft of JFK’s brain. Then coronavirus happened. You might’ve heard a little bit about this.
The fact that the world has been locked down and normal life has come to an almost apocalyptic halt has, naturally, caused the conspiracy theories to flood in. So, you know, I thought I best take a look at some of them.
My focus today is on a few that are particularly hot in the UK right now. Hot being the operative word. Brits are literally setting fire to 5G towers in Birmingham, Belfast and Liverpool because they believe 5G is linked to the spread of COVID-19.
Linked how? There appear to be two schools of thought. Let’s dive on in to the first one.
1. 5G is causing coronavirus
In late January, theories began spreading via social media that 5G is behind the spread of coronavirus. People were claiming either that 5G suppresses the immune system and makes people more susceptible to catching the virus, or that the virus is transmitted somehow through 5G technology. The man who lit the fuse was a doctor in Belgium, Kris Van Kerckhoven, who made the claim in a Belgian newspaper that 5G may be linked to COVID-19. The newspaper also pointed out that 5G towers had been built around Wuhan in China in 2019, and of course Wuhan is where the virus began. So, you know, makes sense.
From here, the theory spread to YouTube, with obscure online talk show hosts and vloggers revealing ‘the truth’ about 5G and coronavirus. One woman claimed in a video doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter that people suffering from coronavirus in Wuhan “just fall over” and that the same thing happens with 5G. She said that 5G “absorbs oxygen” so that there’s none left in the air for the body to take in.
Then it broke into the mainstream, with big-name celebrities fanning the flames. Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner posted a tweet linking coronavirus with 5G. UK TV personality Amanda Holden shared a petition calling for 5G to be banned and saying that the symptoms of exposure to 5G are “very much” like the symptoms of COVID-19. And Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson posted about the theory on Instagram, saying that “a lot of my friends have been talking about the negative effects of 5G”.
The story of 5G and coronavirus goes back much further than January, though. For more than a year, conspiracy theory websites and broadcasters like Russia Today have been warning people that 5G could be lethal. Since the beginning of 2019, Russia Today has reported on the supposed health risks of 5G at least 10 times. They and other anti-5G activists have reported that people exposed to 5G have gone on to suffer from cancer, infertility, autism, nosebleeds and Alzheimer’s. In addition, popular and long-running science magazine Scientific American posted an article in October 2019 entitled We Have No Reason To Believe 5G Is Safe, alleging health risks such as cancer and asking readers to petition against the rollout of 5G. These early “5G kills” conspiracy theories laid the groundwork for the recent ones about COVID-19.
2. Coronavirus is just a cover for an even bigger plot by our mobile phone networks
There’s another rather different theory linking 5G with coronavirus that’s floating about. This is the claim that the global COVID-19 lockdown is being used as a cover and a diversion while our mobile phone networks install 5G everywhere. These people are arguing that 5G, once installed, will then be used to kill people on a massive scale.
In a video posted by the Daily Mail, a woman accosted engineers laying fibre optic cables for 5G in London, saying, “You know when they turn this on, it’s going to kill everyone, and that’s why they’re building the hospitals.” She went on to say, “You’ve just admitted that you’re laying 5G, so that’s basically why we’re all inside, while you’ve got free rein of London.” Basically, this woman is suggesting that the lockdown is so engineers like these ones can lay 5G and kill us all.
Professional boxer Amir Khan has also pushed this theory, saying coronavirus is “man-made” and has been “put there for a reason—while they test 5G”. (Although he also argues that it “might be for population control”.)
The truth about 5G
You know what? I actually believe this one. I mean, if Amanda Holden, Woody Harrelson and this boxer guy believe coronavirus is a 5G plot, then it must be true.
Just kidding. We’re in Flat Earth territory here.
Sure, it doesn’t help that reputable publications like Scientific American are publishing opinion pieces warning about the health risks of 5G. However, a week after that article was published, Scientific American put out a follow-up article slamming the previous one, entitled Don’t Fall Prey to Scaremongering about 5G. In this article they say that the previous one “pivots on fringe views and fatally flawed conjecture, attempting to circumvent scientific consensus with scaremongering”. It goes on to say that the scientific consensus “points starkly in the opposite direction”, i.e. 5G poses no risk. Interesting to see a publication bash one of its own writers!
Scientists, doctors and government representatives are already branding all notions that 5G causes coronavirus as “complete rubbish”. And they’ve been backing up their claims with, would you believe it, real science. Although radio waves can heat up the body meaning your immune system can’t function, the radio waves from 5G are so tiny that they can’t possibly have any meaningful effect.
That said, I do appreciate that people must struggle to know whether to believe a scientist who actually knows about this stuff or Amanda Holden.
As for the second theory about us all being in lockdown so that 5G can be installed everywhere, I’m not sure I even understand this one. They’re killing a few of us with coronavirus so that they can kill all of us with 5G? To what end? Don’t they want us to buy 5G? Isn’t it a bit counterintuitive for a mobile phone company to kill all its customers?
What’s also funny is that the conspiracy theorists can’t decide which conspiracy theory they’re peddling. Amir Khan said coronavirus was for testing 5G but also said it could be for population control. Mate—which is it? Those are totally different conspiracy theories with totally different baddies with totally different motives. Silly little boxer man.
Next month: although I suspect coronavirus will still be raging (as will its accompanying conspiracy theories), I’m going to give everyone a break and get back to talking about JFK’s brain.