Are cases of coronavirus in the United States linked to the rollout of 5G, the fifth-generation wireless technology? No, that's not true: A Facebook user has attempted to demonstrate a connection between one cellular provider's 5G network and the reported cases of coronavirus in the United States. However, this apples-and-oranges comparison is a fallacy. It all comes down to the concept of population density.
The claim originated in a post (archived here) published on Facebook by TrippyMuzik McBay on March 19, 2020. It opened:
did some research today and made this map overlay showing the new 5G towers and coronavirus outbreaks. Weird that they center around eachother
dont fall for this bs
Users on social media only saw this:
In his post, McBay said he made the map overlay to show a connection between new 5G towers and coronavirus outbreaks. It seems he overlaid AT&T's 5G coverage map with a coronavirus outbreak map from The New York Times.
However, correlation does not imply causation.
Cases of the novel coronavirus are more likely to be found in densely populated areas. The virus spreads through person-to-person contact, and the likelihood of coming into contact with someone in urban areas is higher than in rural communities.
It stands to reason that telecommunications companies would prioritize the rollout of new technology in those same population centers because that's where the majority of their customers live.
This is a map of the population density of the United States based on the 2010 Census:
People commenting on the post noted the argument was unsound:
Lead Stories has already examined the suggestion that 5G technology is related to the spread of the coronavirus, a claim which is not supported by evidence.
The coronavirus is more likely to be found in densely populated areas, the same places that telecommunications companies would launch new 5G services. Even so, this doesn't mean that 5G is exacerbating the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some fact checks that Lead Stories has done related to 5G:
- Fact Check: 5G Technology NOT Believed To Have Caused Coronavirus
- Fact Check: Birds Did NOT Fall Dead From The Sky Due To 5G
- Fake News: Man Who Works On 5G Towers Does NOT Offer Sources To Back Up Claims On The Dangers To Come
- Fake News: Hundreds Of Birds That Fell Out Of The Sky Were NOT Near A 5G Installation
- Fake News: Israel Did Not Invent 5G Technology, And It Did Not Ban It
- Fake News: Japan Did NOT Abandon The Development of 5G Networks For The Health of Citizens
- Fake News: Firefighters DID NOT Suffer Neurological Damage After Contact With 5G Cell Towers