Conspiracy theories claiming 5G technology helps transmit coronavirus have been condemned by the scientific community.
Videos have been shared on social media showing mobile phone masts on fire in Birmingham and Merseyside – along with the claims.
The posts have been shared on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram – including by verified accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers.
But scientists say the idea of a connection between Covid-19 and 5G is “complete rubbish” and biologically impossible.
The conspiracy theories have been branded “the worst kind of fake news” by NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis.
Many of those sharing the post are pushing a conspiracy theory falsely claiming that 5G – which is used in mobile phone networks and relies on signals carried by radio waves – is somehow responsible for coronavirus.
These theories appear to have first emerged via Facebook posts in late January, around the same time the first cases were recorded in the US.
They appear to fall broadly in to two camps:
- One claims 5G can suppress the immune system, thus making people more susceptible to catching the virus.
- The other suggests the virus can somehow be transmitted through the use of 5G technology.