Over 100 5G infrastructures have been set on fire due to a passing conspiracy theory linking the spread of COVID-19 through 5G signals. But is there any relation in 5G coronavirus?
Reuters noted in the EU documents it extracted that members-nations discussed the need to combat fake news and disinformation fuelling 5G-COVID-19 relations leading to violence, as the Union looks forward to cash-in the 5G benefit, Reuters reports.
In 10 European countries, over 140 masts were set ablaze, according to telecom lobbying groups ETNO and GSMA, under the influence of the conspiracy theory. Maintenance workers also faced scores of attacks while on duty. Cases have surfaced from Germany, Italy, France, and Belgium, while Britan encountering the most with 87 arson attacks, followed by the Netherlands, with 30 cases.
EU ministers emphasized to address the misinformation issue “with special regard to false claims that such networks constitute a health threat or are linked to COVID-19”, Reuters reports.
Is 5G more harmful than 4G?
Just like every passing generation of telecom technology, 5G promises better speed and reliability. But is it at the cost of damage to humans and nature? Is 5G more harmful than 4G?
One of the biggest leaps in the 5th generation technology will be a shift to gigabyte-level download speeds. Meaning, people will be able to download content up to 10-100 times faster than the current 4G technology, according to LiveScience.
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In real-life, such accomplishment translates to users being able to download movies on their phones and tablets in a matter of seconds. Associate professor of electrical engineering at Columbia University in New York, Harish Krishnaswamy says the significant leap in speed will allow newer applications that are “just not possible today,” he says, adding “those type of data rates could enable virtual reality applications or autonomous driving cars.”
The science behind the question:
Coming to the question if 5g is more harmful than 4g, the simple, direct answer is yes, but not the way most people perceive. The new generation will use millimeter-wave radiation, while the former, currently in-use generation uses centimeter-wave radiation. On paper, it is an upgrade and apparently an upgrade leads to damage is often the vox populi.
Professor Kenneth Foster of bioengineering at Pennsylvania State University explains the difference between two types of radiation: ionizing and the nonionizing, which determines the harmful effect it will cause. The ionizing category of wavelength is deemed as damaging because it has the power to break chemical bonds, Prof. Foster explains.
Radio frequencies used by mobile networks are of the non-ionizing category since it is of millimeter-wavelength and they “have longer wavelengths and not enough energy to damage cells directly.” UV-rays, for instance, are ionizing waves, hence we wear sunscreen to protect from the damage it can cause. However, the professor notes, most often the two are clubbed together.
“The only established hazard of non-ionizing radiation is too much heating. At high exposure levels, radio frequency (RF) energy can indeed be hazardous, producing burns or other thermal damage, but these exposures are typically incurred only in occupational settings near high-powered radio frequency transmitters, or sometimes in medical procedures gone awry,” Kenneth Foster says to LiveScience, who has been studying health effects of radiowaves for over 5 decades.
The World Health Organization as already debunked the claim of viruses traveling on radio-frequencies. “Viruses cannot travel on radio waves/mobile networks. COVID-19 is spreading in many countries that do not have 5G mobile networks.”