Are 5G Networks in Wuhan Responsible for the COVID-19 Outbreak?

A claim that has taken the Internet by storm is that the rollout of the 5G networks in Wuhan, China caused the new Coronavirus.

American singer/actress, Keri Hilson, fuelled this claim by sharing a series of tweets that have since been deleted (see screenshots below).

She had also shared this YouTube video on her Instagram to support her claims.

A similar claim had been shared on Facebook.


5G is the next generation of wireless network technology which will see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. The time it takes devices to communicate with wireless networks will also drastically decrease.

Like the generations before it, 4G, 3G and 2G, 5G is transmitted over radio waves, which have the longest wavelengths and are part of the non-harmful part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The ongoing roll-out of 5G networks around the world has come with several false claims and conspiracy theories, which has been attributed to a lack of understanding and misinformation on how 5G works.

For instance, an increase in a range of maladies such as cancer, infertility, autism and Alzheimer’s have been falsely attributed to 5G networks. In November 2018, hundreds of birds were reported to have died during a 5G experiment in the Netherlands, a claim that has since been debunked as false.

But does the network have anything to do with COVID-19?


It is true that China launched 5G networks in 50 of its cities in November 2019.

According to the Hubei government website, it is also true that 5G network is available in some parts of Wuhan, the city where the new Coronavirus was first discovered. The city had been listed as being one of the venues where 5G was being rolled out for testing in August 2019.

Not all radiation is harmful. As stated by the American Cancer Society, radio waves are forms of non-ionizing radiation, which means they do not directly damage the DNA inside body cells.

In 2014, the World Health Organization stated that “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use”.

This BBC report from July 2019 covered in detail the concerns on the health risks of the 5G networks and came to the conclusion that electromagnetic frequency from the tested 5G networks will not damage the public’s health in any substantial way.

As for Africa not being a 5G region, DW reported Lesotho and South Africa, as being the only African countries where 5G is commercially available though the services are extremely limited. Telecommunications company MTN also started testing the network in Nigeria.

Closer home, Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, has confirmed running trials of its 5G network ahead of an anticipated limited rollout by the end of 2020.


There is no evidence that COVID-19 was caused by 5G network and any claim purporting the same is unfounded and therefore, FALSE.

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