Celebrities are picking up 5G, COVID-19 theories, increasing their visibility
Over the last few days, three separate cell tower fires have been reported in the U.K. and are suspected of being the result of the increasing perpetuation of conspiracy theories tying 5G networks to COVID-19, either by exacerbating the spread of the virus or by literally causing it.
The fires reported in Belfast, North Ireland and Birmingham, England both occurred Thursday, while the third tower went up in flames in England’s Liverpool area on Friday.
The tower in Birmingham, operated by EE, isn’t even a 5G tower, but instead delivered previous generations of cellular technology to those in its service area.
“This site served thousands of people in the Birmingham area, providing vital 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity as it has done for many years,” said an EE spokesperson. “We will try to restore full coverage as quickly as possible, but the damage caused by the fire is significant.”
EE added that it will work with police to “identify a culprit” if it becomes clear that arson is to blame, which the operator believes to be likely.
Investigations into all of the fires have been launched, as well as into an online video of flames growing at the base of the tower in Belfast, circulated on Facebook. In the video, someone can be heard cursing 5G networks and saying “viva la revolution.”
At this time, the U.K. has not discovered a direct link between the fires.
The fires come as the conversation around the dangers of 5G heats up, especially as people are becoming increasingly disheartened by the current state of things.
Celebrities are picking up these theories, increasing their visibility. Wood Harrelson, for example, recently shared a report exploring the connection between COVID-19 and 5G to his 2 million Instagram followers. He stated that while he “hasn’t fully vetted it” yet, he finds “it very interesting.”
Another emerging belief is that 5G radiation is lowering our immune defenses, making us more vulnerable to the virus, a theory that Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, has called “complete rubbish.”
“The idea that 5G lowers your immune system doesn’t stand up to scrutiny,” Dr. Clarke said. “Your immune system can be dipped by all sorts of thing — by being tired one day, or not having a good diet. Those fluctuations aren’t huge but can make you more susceptible to catching viruses.”
Dr. Clarke is just one of many scientists and industry experts who have weighed in on the issue, maintaining that there is no evidence that 5G is unsafe, and even less evidence that it’s in anyway connected to COVID-19.
In fact, a panel of international experts announced last month that, after extensive research, 5G was found to be safe for the public. The International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Germany-based scientific body in charge of setting limits on exposure to radiation, called for new guidelines for mmWave 5G, the first guideline update in more than 20 years. Those guidelines, however, only required minor updates to make them fit for 5G, emphasizing that 5G technology does not pose much more of threat to human than previous generations of cellular technology.
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