The psychology behind theories linking 5G and coronavirus

Posted at 10:48 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 23:18:59-04

CAPE CORAL, FLA — "Echo is the coronavirus real?"

That's a question an unidentified man asked his Amazon Echo in an April 13, 2020.

This was the response.

"Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a cover-up by country's governments to hide the fact that they are installing 5g mobile infrastructure around all parts of the world."

The man from that video says in the caption that he's joking, but there some who aren't.

All you have to do is a quick search on google or social media to see it.

"The total number of patients we have on ventilators for COVID-19 statewide is about 400," said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a recent press conference.

We know this illness is very real from the daily government updates, and we have yet to see a credible source link the virus to 5G or existing cellphone tech.

So why is this rumor gaining steam?

FGCU philosophy professor, Landon Frim, says there a few reasons. The first? You may be seeing it more because of social media algorithms.

"When I did it just a few days ago, the first or second result is '5G coronovirus' or '5g causes coronavirus,'" said Frim.

But professor Frim says there's also a psychological reason.

"You have this general invisible enemy and then someone has the idea that 'No, it's that tower right there' and they burn the tower and they feel much better about themselves, it's a sort of scapegoat mentality," said Frim.

The Associated Press and New York Times both report that 5G conspiracy theorists have recently burned towers across the UK.

But if unchecked, Frim says that anxiety can change into even more dangerous thoughts.

"This kind of thinking can jump from 'the fault is the 5G tower' to for example 'the fault is Asian Americans or immigrants,'" said Frim.

Frim says your best bet to dealing with any theory floating around, is to check your sources.

"It is important to combat misinformation with object scientific information."

If you're struggling with anxiety related to COVID-19, head to the "coronavirus" section of our website, for some previous stories that can help.