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Rumor: 5G Is the Cause of COVID-19

Another unfounded rumor that shows trust has been lost.

Who do you trust? What messages do you believe? I have to admit that there are individuals and organizations who I don't trust implicitly. This is based on their past behaviors and messaging that have been totally false or bent by ideology versus facts. The old saying, "Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on me." In today's information age, you need to have "shields up" at all times to ward off misinformation. 

Which brings me to one of the current conspiracy theories roaming the Internet these days -- 5G caused/causes COVID-19. See this article, Something in the air.

This rumor has been percolating around the Internet for some time already -- and, not just in England where this story is based on. It is here in the United States and of sufficient threat to have it be noticed by fusion centers looking at threats to critical infrastructures. Don't worry, Seattle, you don't have any 5G (high capacity) in the city. To do that will require contracts with the city of Seattle and they are looking to make as much money as they can off the telecom companies. One comment in the article highlights the confusion. Just because your phone says 5G on it, doesn't mean you have the full capability of 5G:

"In the case of the 5G conspiracy, this haze of ignorance has been aided and abetted by the mobile operators themselves. The 5G hype train has been rolling for years, with fake 5G logos in phones and fanfares for networks that only work on a few streets. Ads shout about 5G’s “revolutionary potential” and promise it will bring a self-driving car to every home and a robot surgeon to every hospital. There’s a lot of talk about what 5G will supposedly do, but very little about what it actually is, which allows people to ignore the simple, even tedious truth: it’s the internet, but faster. And more to the point: it involves a lot of equipment that breaks and has to be fixed by actual people."

Switching topics slightly, there is this quote in the article that is right on the money. It speaks to the interconnectedness of our our modern society and lack of understanding by many people who are getting services who have no connection to how the system all works. See this quote from the linked article: 

"The internet and its many delights have always thrived on ... ignorance. We’re encouraged as consumers to ignore the human labor that enables the conveniences that we enjoy. Food, shopping, and transportation all arrive at the push of a button, but the network of warehouse workers, kitchen staff, and delivery drivers that make these transactions possible are hidden from view. It’s only when the system breaks down that their work becomes more visible."  

The above feeds into our United States penchant for "fix on failure" mentality for how we care for the public infrastructure or our own homes. Fix the roof when it leaks. Paint the house when it is peeling. I can't tell how many times I've sat in the waiting area at my local car dealership and the maintenance adviser tells the person, e.g., "Your brakes are shot or your timing belt is 25,000 miles overdue for replacement, etc." They hear the cost estimate and then say, "No thanks," thinking -- it still stops, it is still running (until it doesn't). 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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