Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says conspiracy theories linking 5G and COVID-19 are 'just not true'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned a conspiracy theory spreading on social media which claims 5G and coronavirus are linked.

On Wednesday afternoon Ardern was asked what she thinks of the theory being spread across Instagram that 5G either causes or contributes to coronavirus.

"That is not true," she said.

"I can’t state it clearly enough. I almost hesitate to speak to it on this platform - it is just not true."

Theories about 5G are rife across the internet with celebrities like Keri Hilson and  Woody Harrelson sharing bogus claims that the mobile networks are spreading the virus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says conspiracy theories linking 5G and COVID-19 are 'just not true'
Photo credit: Twitter/Keri Hilson

The general idea seems to be that 5G either weakens the immune system so people are more likely to catch COVID-19 or that COVID-19 actually doesn't exist and the pandemic is a vast cover-up to hide the effects of 5G. 

Neither of these claims have any supporting evidence.

The distrust of 5G predates the COVID-19 pandemic with conspiracy theories about 5G causing cancer due to the higher levels of radiation spreading long before the virus was.

There is no evidence that 5G causes any kind of illness let alone COVID-19. Fact-checking site FullFact explains that 5G is the next generation of mobile networks, following on from 4G. 

It uses radio waves to transmit mobile data. The radio waves are non-ionising, meaning they don't damage DNA inside cells as X-rays, gamma rays and UV rays can. 

Experts agree that rumours about a connection between 5G and COVID-19 are not only false but dangerous. 

"This story about 5G has no credence scientifically and is certainly a potential distraction, as is other such misinformation, from controlling the COVID-19 epidemic," said Dr Jonathan Samet, the dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. 

Kiwi professor of health psychology Dr Keith Petrie says the majority of studies show no evidence of 5G being harmful - and the studies that do show harm are unreliable.

"Some people report that they are sensitive to the electromagnetic fields used in mobile phones and wifi," he said. 

"Studies show that such people do experience symptoms, but only when they know they are being exposed. In double-blind conditions where they are exposed without knowing whether the electromagnetic field is on or off, no reliable effects are apparent."