UK Cell Towers Set Ablaze Over Fringe COVID-19 Conspiracy Theory

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

In today’s episode of affirming Rachel’s stereotypes against people with Brummie accents, a bunch of wackos in the UK started torching cell towers because they think 5G is contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

The BBC reported that videos purportedly showing cellphone towers on fire were posted online claiming a link between 5G technology and the COVID-19 crisis. Incidents involving fires in Birmingham and Liverpool are being investigated, according to the BBC.

Firefighters responded to a fire at a 70-foot mast in Birmingham on Thursday, the Birmingham Mail reported, noting that several videos claiming to show masts on fire were posted to a Facebook page. The page has now been taken down by Facebook, it said.

Emergency services were called to a burning mast in Aintree near Liverpool on Friday, according to the Liverpool Echo. Another 5G tower was also set ablaze in south Liverpool, the Liverpool Echo reported.

Now, there are lots of ways to deal with this pandemic, and some of them are better than others. I’m going to go ahead and say, though, rather definitively, that arson is one of the worst ways to handle this situation. Like, even if you had a good reason for committing arson, you still probably shouldn’t, and this is a patently terrible reason because it’s f*ck!ng bonkers.

That being said, reluctant props to whomever got the fire started so high up. They’re still a twat, but they’ve got one hell of an arm.

Now, if you’re like me, you kinda want to know where the hell this kind of idea comes from. I’ve gone down many conspiracy rabbit holes and have yet to not make it out with my common sense intact (and yes, I will be taking questions). So I looked into it.

The Daily Star quotes an “activist and philosophy lecturer at the Isle of Wight College” saying that electromagnetic radiation from 5G suppresses the immune system, helping the virus to thrive. As mentioned above, the level of radiation from 5G is far below levels of electromagnetic radiation thought to cause damage to cells in the human body.

The second theory appears to be that “viruses “talk to each other” when making decisions about infecting a host”. This is not true. The Daily Star article links to a 2011 research paper which suggested that bacteria may produce electromagnetic signals to communicate with other bacteria. This hypothesis is disputed, and refers to bacteria and not viruses like the new coronavirus.

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The conclusions to draw from this story are threefold:

  1. Don’t commit acts of arson.
  2. Idiots in other countries are just as idiotic, if not more so, than idiots in America.
  3. Worrying about Coronavirus spreading via 5G is ridiculous, since it’s obviously had more time to practice using 4G.