Did the U.S. government say that 5G causes COVID-19? No, that's not true: The study cited by the article making the claim was retracted several years earlier. The Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents made the retraction following "a thorough investigation ... as it showed evidence of substantial manipulation of the peer review."
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by NewsPunch on January 26, 2023, titled "U.S. Government Admits '5G Radiation Causes COVID-19' - Stunning Admission." It opens:
Bombshell new peer-reviewed scientific studies have revealed what many of us knew from the beginning. 5G radiation is not only connected to the Covid-19 pandemic, it actually induces the body to create new viruses and illnesses, including coronaviruses. And before the mainstream media gets hold of this study and convinces the masses that it is unimportant, you should know that these are peer-reviewed scientific studies published on the National Institute of Health website.
This is what the post looked like on the NewsPunch website at the time of writing:
(Source: NewsPunch screenshot taken on Tue Jan 31 15:59:45 2023 UTC)
The article's premise hangs on this paragraph about halfway through the story:
According to a study just published on the US NIH (National Institute of Health) website PubMed.gov and published earlier elsewhere. The study, entitled 5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells comes to the shocking conclusion - shocking from a mainstream scientific viewpoint - that 5G technology can induce the body to produce viruses as a cellular response.
What NewsPunch doesn't tell the reader is that not only was the study not "just published," but the study was retracted in July 2020, more than two years before its 2023 article was published. This is what the retraction notice says:
This article has been retracted at the request of the Editor. After a thorough investigation the Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article as it showed evidence of substantial manipulation of the peer review.
The journal that originally published this study is carried online by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). When a study is available on the website of the NLM, which is the "world's largest biomedical library," that doesn't mean it's endorsed by the U.S. government, as the NewsPunch article claims, although it is a website maintained by a U.S. government agency. The NLM is part of the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NLM website states its purpose:
NLM carries out its mission of enabling biomedical research, supporting health care and public health, and promoting healthy behavior by:
- Acquiring, organizing, preserving, and providing free online access to scholarly biomedical literature from around the world.
- Providing access to biomedical and health information across the country in partnership with the over 8,100 members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM).
- Serving as a leading global resource for building, curating, and providing sophisticated access to molecular biology and genomic, clinical trial, environmental health and other types of biomedical data, including those from high-profile, trans-NIH initiatives.
- Conducting research and development on biomedical communications systems, methods, technologies, and networks and information dissemination and utilization among health professionals, patients, and the public.
- Funding advanced biomedical informatics and data science research and serving as the primary supporter of pre- and post-doctoral research training in biomedical informatics and data science at 16 U.S. universities.
Anything available via the NLM must meet its guidelines and policies. Anything that doesn't won't be published to begin with or will be removed if problems with them are discovered later, which was the issue in this case.
NewsPunch has published numerous fake news articles in the past. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" even lost its verification checkmark, according to a 2018 report from Media Matters For America.
NEWSPUNCH, LLC AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE.
Lead Stories' other debunks of claims made by NewsPunch can be found here. Additional fact checks related to COVID-19 and 5G can be found here.