Monday, 13 April 2020

Coronavirus Myths - Does 5G Cause COVID-19?

Does 5G cause Coronavirus? The short answer is no. The long answer is as follows.

Myth 1: Wuhan was the first place in the world to get 5G in October last year, hence they were the first to get the new Coronavirus in November last year.

FALSE. South Korea was the first to get 5G in April last year. They did not have their first COVID-19 case until 20 Jan this year. The USA was the second country to get 5G in April also last year and they didn't have their first case until 20 Jan. Germany was the third country to get 5G in June last year and their first case wasn't until 27 Jan this year. China got 5G in October last year and Wuhan was only one of several cities in China to get 5G around this time.

The COVID disease originated in Wuhan in November last year and the spread of the virus can be clearly tracked. If 5G was the cause, then we should see COVID-19 cases appearing in the order that 5G was introduced. This is NOT the case, so there is NO temporal (time) association between 5G and COVID-19.

Myth 2: COVID-19 only affects the countries that have 5G.

FALSE. There are 34 countries in the world with 5G networks. There are now 201 countries in the world with COVID-19 cases. Iran is an example of a country where there is no 5G with a lot of COVID-19 cases (45,000). So there is NO geographical association between 5G and COVID-19.

Myth 3: Countries with more 5G towers have more cases of COVID-19.

FALSE. South Korea has the highest number of cities (85) with 5G availability, yet its COVID-19 outbreak is well controlled. This can be attributed to their aggressive early testing. The USA, on the other hand, is a much larger country than Korea yet only has 50 cities with 5G availability, and their COVID-19 outbreak is now the largest in the world. This can be attributed to poor management. So there is NO dose-response relationship between COVID-19 and 5G.

Myth 4: Viruses are made by poisoned cells in order to get rid of toxic waste products. Viruses are not harmful and not infectious.

FALSE. Please uppercut yourself if you believe this. Viruses are infectious particles that attach to and invade cells in order to take over the cell machinery. They then use the cell machinery to create more copies of themselves which infect other cells in the vicinity. In this process, the cell is damaged and can die, leading to inflammation and immune response (release of cytokines including interferons, TNF-alpha and interleukins).
Coronavirus Myths - Does 5G Cause COVID-19?
Coronavirus Myths - Does 5G Cause COVID-19? 
This immune response is actually what causes symptoms of infection, such as fever, fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches, not the virus infection itself. This is why patients with a severely compromised immune system may not have a fever even though they have a severe infection. This is also why you may experience symptoms similar to the flu after a flu vaccine because the immune response is being stimulated. Viruses have been studied extensively for the last 100 years and you can actually observe cells changing and dying in response to viral infection through a microscope.

Myth 5: 5G radiation causes symptoms similar to COVID-19 illness (shortness of breath and headache) because 60GHz radiation is absorbed by molecular oxygen and impairs binding of oxygen to haemoglobin (a protein that binds oxygen in the blood).

FALSE. There are no 5G networks that use 60GHz frequency at this time. Most networks are using frequencies around 3.5GHz, with gradually increasing usage of higher frequencies in the 28GHz range. It is true that 60GHz photons are absorbed by oxygen (O2) molecules because that is one of the frequencies that can cause a change in the rotational state of oxygen in the gas phase. However, this is also the reason that the 60GHz frequency is NOT being used by any network at this time because the signal is rapidly lost in only a short distance.

There are theoretical benefits to 60GHz frequency use, which include less interference and increased ability to re-use frequencies which is why there are discussions about this frequency online. Even if 60GHz was being used, the change in the rotational state of oxygen would only be observed for a fraction of a second, as the energy would quickly be dissipated into the surrounding air.

In addition, only one out of trillions and trillions of oxygen molecules in the air would be affected by this. So there is NO plausible biological mechanism for 5G causing symptoms similar to COVID-19.

Myth 6: Ok ok, maybe 5G doesn't cause Coronavirus, but it is still harmful to our health.

MAYBE but probably not. Both 5G and visible light are made up of photons. 5G technology uses frequencies up to 95GHz. Visible light is made up of photons that have a frequency 10,000 times higher (400-800THz), and so the energy per photon is a corresponding 10,000 times higher. Even the energy per photon in visible light is much lower than the energy required to knock electrons off atoms (ionization).

In addition, we are exposed to a tremendous amount of visible light radiation (along with infrared and UV radiation) every day from the sun, which is millions, if not billions, of times higher than any radiation that we would receive from 5G technology.

Therefore I do not see how 5G radiation could be any more harmful to our health than infrared radiation or visible radiation, which we are exposed to in much larger amounts. The studies on radiofrequency radiation is conflicting, with the majority finding no association between exposure and cancer, but there are a few studies that show a small association.

The studies that showed these associations are not well-designed and have flaws in their methods that make me sceptical of the results. Based on the current evidence, radiofrequency radiation is classed as a Group 2B carcinogen (possibly causes cancer in humans). Kava extract and aloe vera extract are also Group 2B carcinogens.

That being said, I cannot say for certain that prolonged low-level exposure to radiofrequency or microwave-frequency is not harmful to health. Even if it was, the effect is likely to be extremely minimal (far less than the effect of processed meats or alcohol).

In the end, we are all exposed to lots of different carcinogens in our life. Some we can avoid and some we can't (such as sunlight). Alcohol and processed meats are both Group 1 carcinogens (KNOWN to cause cancer in humans) yet I still enjoy both of these things from time to time. For me, the very real benefits from 5G far outweigh the very minuscule risk from 5G that may not even exist.

By: Tarcisious Marondedze an expert in Networking Technologies and holds a Bsc in Information Technology with Wits University.

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