Linking 5G to Coronavirus (COVID-19)


In the spate of COVID-19 outbreak, different speculations cum conspiracy theories have emerged and still emerging. Most notable recently, albeit one that caught our interest is the much-talked-about 5G.

5G, touted as an agenda to effect a new world order, has attracted concerns among the internet community of recent.
But what is the 5G?

Fifth Generation Wireless (5G) is the term used to describe the next-generation of mobile networks beyond LTE mobile networks which are engineered to increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

The backbone of the 5G standard comprises a low-, mid- and high-band spectrum. 5G networks operate on different frequencies with potential peak speeds as high as 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) and millimeter-wave (20-60 GHz) at the low and high ends spectrum. In Summary, the 5G technology provides an internet speed of 10 to 100 times faster than 4G! The positive side you see.

However, the 5G use of Millimetre Wave has a few drawbacks: Because it's of high-frequency, the waves don't travel long distances. It has a low coverage area and building (even glass) penetration renders it poor. That means a device operating on a mmWave-based network will need to be extremely close to a 5G node to catch a signal. This is the reason why there is (and will be) massive deployment of 5G towers around the neighborhood nearer to us (unlike 3G/4G sites).

5G has been live in several cities globally since 2019. So far, it has been deployed in 378 Cities across 34 Countries.

Is Wuhan the first city to launch 5G?

It is claimed that China started to install 5G towers around the same time that the coronavirus started to spread in the country (around November 2019). While this is true, the mere fact that two things occurred at around the same time does not mean they are related, as correlation not the same as causation.

Moreover, Wuhan is not the first City to launch the 5G, albeit one of the 16 major cities in which 5G was tested in china (cities include Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Guiyang, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, and Shenyang). So far, China has gone live and active in 57 cities. How come it is only Wuhan that had the high case of COVID19???

Interestingly, the first country to fully launch 5G on a large scale was South Korea in April 2019. A similar question pops up again; how come we do not have cases of Coronavirus in South Korea or Germany (which launched 5G around the same time)?

This table presents the top ten (10) countries with the 5G network and the cases of Coronavirus and deaths recorded from these countries. You would notice South Korea is the number 1 country (by number of cities) using 5G network as of today. They have 85 cities currently live on the spectrum. In fact, the country has over 2 million 5G network subscribers. As of June 2019, as early and fast adopters of 5G, they account for more than 75% of the global population of 5G users. As of March 2020, they have about 5.4 million 5G subscribers (10% of its population is on 5G!!! the highest so far).

You would also notice that South Korea has 10,156 cases of COVID19 (and 177 deaths). They are not even among the top ten countries with Coronavirus. If truly the stories about 5G base stations making people fall on the streets and causing their deaths due to its radiation, then there should have been lots of reports about this from South Korea!

China is number 2 with 57 cities Live on 5G and a total of 20.6 million subscribers. (1% of its population), the USA is number 3 with 50 Cities on 5G with about 8 million subscribers (2% of its population).

It would interest you that as at February 2020, Iran, Belgium, Netherlands and Canada have not yet fully launched 5G on a commercial scale and yet they have got frightening numbers of COVID19 cases as at April 3, 2020:

Iran -53,193, Belgium-16,770, Netherlands -15,723 and Canada-12,537. These four (4) countries are among the top ten (10) countries hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and yet no 5G launch???!!

We decided to run a correlation analysis on the number of cities on 5G (from the top 10 countries) and cases of COVID19 infections and deaths. The results show VERY WEAK correlation hence there is not even any objective basis for us to start associating 5G networks with COVID19. So there is no correlation not to talk of causation.

Scatterplot of COVID19 deaths with 5g cities

Scatterplot of covid19 cases vs 5G active cities

Should we be concerned about 5G?

So many videos and audio have been circulating on pages of social media concerning the dangers of 5G. There is a particular one supposedly showing a 5G tower being torn down in China because people feared it was causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whereas, the footage actually was in August 2019 (before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China) and shows anti-surveillance protesters tearing down a “smart” lamppost in Hong Kong.

As with new technologies, studies have been made and still ongoing on the negative effects of 5G. The only major effect peculiar to the 5G as of today is the production of heat. More studies are expected and definitely we should expect health challenges that would need to be mitigated. No matter the future outcomes, the benefits will outweigh any identified challenges.

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.