Was the COVID-19 pandemic pre-planned with help from billionaire Bill Gates and have the illnesses associated with it been spread by 5G technology? No, that's not true: The claims made in the "Covid-19 Genocide of 2020" video are a rehash of conspiracy myths previously debunked by Lead Stories and other fact checkers.
The claims originated in a video of an event in Vienna, Austria, on October 25, 2020, titled "The Covid-19 Genocide of 2020 - Claire Edwards" (archived here). The description on YouTube read:
PRESS CONFERENCE LIVESTREAM FROM VIENNA, AUSTRIA Claire Edwards & Steven Whybrow [Age Of Truth TV] Streamed live on Oct 23, 2020 Claire Edwards, BA Hons, MA, worked for the United Nations as Editor and Trainer in Intercultural Writing from 1999 to 2017. Claire warned the Secretary-General about the dangers of 5G during a meeting with UN staff in May 2018, calling for a halt to its rollout at UN duty stations. She part-authored, designed, administered the 30 language versions, and edited the entirety of the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space (www.5gspaceappeal.org) and vigorously campaigned to promote it throughout 2019. In January 2020, she severed connection with the Appeal when its administrator, Arthur Firstenberg, joined forces with a third-party group, stop5ginternational, which brought itself into disrepute at its foundation by associating with the Club of Rome/Club of Budapest eugenicist movement.
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
The video by Claire Edwards makes a series of unproven and disproven conspiracy claims about the origins of the Corona-19 virus, who is behind it and for what purpose. Her two main contentions are that the COVID-19 hoax has been perpetrated by a powerful cabal of global leaders and institutions to subjugate the masses and that the vaccine is the tool by which they aim to exert that control. A theory that 5G technology causes COVID-19 also plays a large role in her argument.
Lead Stories and other news and fact-checking organizations have repeatedly debunked the premises behind those claims in the past few months.
Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates features prominently in the Edwards video, as he also does in similar conspiracy theories about the origins and spread of COVID-19. Edwards starts her presentation by saying:
"COVID-19" was long pre-planned in documents and simulation exercises emanating from the eugenicist Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation. A platform with 200 detailed levels is provided by the World Economic Forum led by Klaus Schwab, a technocrat and promoter of transhumanism, in order to provide detailed instructions on how the "COVID-19" pandemic is to be used to implement a global monetary reset and digital currency, technocracy and totalitarian government worldwide under the guise of socialism and environmentalism, with China as the model, and enslave humanity through a sinister vaccine conspiracy.
She also claims that Gates wants to reduce the world population and that a Covid-19 vaccine will contain electronic nanochip markers, leading to "the electronic enslavement of people."
Lead Stories refuted these claims in a story on November 1, 2020. It can be found here. The story makes clear that:
There are no plans to force people to be vaccinated, no vaccine has been approved, and there is no evidence the virus was created in labs by China and the U.S.
The Lead Stories report goes on to say:
Multiple peer-reviewed papers in medical science journals by epidemiologists and virologists have found no evidence to support that the virus was a joint and purposeful effort by America and China. Lead Stories has debunked the idea that it was man-made here, and that it (was) weaponized here.
Lead Stories also disputed allegations that Gates conspired with the Vatican to try to depopulate the world with a new COVID-19 vaccine. That March 20, 2020 story can be found here.
Edwards' accusations against Gates are hardly original. NPR noted in a July 10, 2020 report how widespread the conspiracy has become:
A Pew Research Center survey recently asked people if they had heard the theory that the COVID-19 outbreak was intentionally planned by people in power. Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults said they had. And a third of those respondents said it was "definitely" or "probably" true.
One version of this theory goes something like this: The COVID-19 pandemic is part of a strategy conceived by global elites -- such as Bill Gates -- to roll out vaccinations with tracking chips that would later be activated by 5G, the technology used by cellular networks.
The Reuters news agency shot down many of the conspiracies about Gates in a September 10, 2020 article titled "Fact check: Bill Gates is not responsible for COVID-19." On the origins of the disease, Reuters says:
The suggestion that COVID-19 is a deliberately planned pandemic is false. ... Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains the source of COVID-19 was most likely a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China (here) . COVID-19 is believed to have spread from an animal to a person much like MERS and SARS. There is no indication or publicly available evidence suggesting that the coronavirus was "designed."
Reuters also lays bare many of the false accusations about Gates:
Many instances of misinformation related to COVID-19 have referenced Gates. These include, but are not limited to, a false claim that the pandemic is a hoax in which an old Gates quote about pandemic readiness is used (here) ; false or misrepresented claims that Gates plans to microchip people to fight coronavirus (here and here) ; a false claim that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was linked to conspiracy over patents (here) ; and a false claim that linked Bill Gates to a pharmaceutical company that may develop a vaccine for the virus (here) .
Some misinformation related to Bill Gates and the COVID-19 pandemic includes false claims about population control. Some of these theories stem from a misinterpretation of a section of a speech he gave at a TED conference in 2010 (here). As part of a talk on reducing CO2 emissions to zero, he said: "First, we've got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That's headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent. But there, we see an increase of about 1.3."
Another conspiracy theory falsely accuses Gates and his foundation of assisting in the design of a coronavirus. This theory stems from a misinterpretation of the work done by a research center in England called the Pirbright Institute funded by The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation. This claim has been debunked in full by Reuters (here).
Another significant allegation in the Edwards video is that 5G technology is connected to the Covid-19 outbreak. She says:
Wireless technology suppresses the immune system. 5G is implicated in COVID-19 through correlations between the locations of the 5G rollout and morbidity/mortality. ... The symptoms of "COVID" are virtually identical to the symptoms of exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Extensive military research over many decades was kept secret and regulatory agencies were co-opted in order to prevent the public learning about the extreme dangers of electromagnetic radiation. Doctors receive no training on the risks to health of exposure to EMR and therefore misdiagnose EMR symptoms. Hospitals are extensively equipped with 5G, putting patients' lives at risk.
5G serves many purposes. It is a depopulation and military weapon and facilitates the introduction of technocracy and totalitarian control by enabling surveillance, facial recognition, 24/7 monitoring of individuals, mind and body control, and -- in combination with vaccines and chemtrails containing nanoparticles -- the torture or murder of targeted individuals. EMR can be used to simulate pathogens and overwhelm the immune system12 and cell phones may be being used to simulate "COVID-19 contagion" among co-workers or family members. 5G has been widely installed terrestrially and in space to target and control populations.
These claims about 5G have been thoroughly explored and disproven in a long list of articles published in Lead Stories. Here are just a few:
Fact Check: NIH Did NOT Admit 5G Can Actually Create Coronavirus Within Human Cells
Fact Check: No Evidence 5G Alters Red Blood Cells, Amplifying COVID-19 Symptoms
Fact Check: 5G Is NOT Linked To Death Of Birds Or Government Cover-Up
Fact Check: Coronavirus Is NOT Fake; Is NOT A Cover-Up To Allow 5G Deployment
Fact Check: Switching On 5G Did NOT Cause Dead Ducks 'Everywhere'
Fact Check: 'Coronavirus / COVID-19 Exposed' Video Does NOT Contain Credible Info
Fact Check: 5G Technology NOT Believed To Have Caused Coronavirus
The origins of the 5G-Covid conspiracy can be traced to several sources.
The medicalxpress.com news site links it to an article published in PubMed, a free biomedical database. The paper said 5G could cause cellular damage and "form virus-like structures such as coronavirus."
The paper has since been retracted, MedicalXpress noted on July 27, 2020:
Despite the impressive-sounding credentials of the group -- members of the Guglielmo Marconi University, Central Michigan University and First Moscow State Medical University -- the paper drew swift condemnation for its wild conclusions and failure to support any of its research.
The Wired news site tied the 5G conspiracy to a January 22, 2020 newspaper interview with an obscure Belgian doctor. Wired said in an April 9, 2020 story:
From those obscure beginnings, the conspiracy theory has now been pushed by celebrities with hundreds of thousands or millions of social media followers ...
The vox.com news site explains in an April 24, 2020 article "How the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory went from fringe to mainstream." The subheadline concludes: "Despite what the internet might be telling you, cellphones did not cause the Covid-19 pandemic."
The article says:
Initial theories about the relationship between the coronavirus and 5G have now ballooned into all sorts of wild speculation. Some suggest that 5G networks cause radiation, which, in turn, triggers the virus. Others float that reports of the novel coronavirus were actually a cover-up for the installation of 5G towers. A few accounts push the idea that 5G and Covid-19 are part of a broader effort to "depopulate" Earth. Some think it might be connected to the American agriculture titan Monsanto.
As out-there as all this seems, it's also dangerous. As certain people fall for these theories and act out, they stand to harm themselves and others. By early April, conspiracy theorists were setting cell towers on fire in Europe and starting to intersect with other conspiracy-minded communities like anti-vaxxers, raising fears that the towers could pose a threat to public health.
The National Institutes of Health also has a theory, this one tying the conspiracy to Facebook and social media:
Drawing on a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods including time-series analysis, network analysis and in-depth close reading, our analysis shows the dissemination of the rumour on Facebook from its obscure origins in pre-existing conspiracist groups through greater uptake in more diverse communities to substantial amplification by celebrities, sports stars and media outlets. The in-depth tracing of COVID-related mis- and disinformation across social networks offers important new insights into the dynamics of online information dissemination and points to opportunities to slow and stop the spread of false information, or at least to combat it more directly with accurate counterinformation.
That's what Lead Stories and other news organizations have been doing for months with this particular conspiracy theory.