A new poll has revealed one in eight Australians believe coronavirus is spread through 5G networks, that Bill Gates had something to do with its spread and that it’s being used as a tool to force people to get vaccines.
The poll, ran by research company Essential Vision, asked 1,073 people between May 14 and 17 a variety of questions regarding their opinions on the coronavirus outbreak. The results showed that while the majority of Australians — 61 per cent — thought the conspiracy theory purporting 5G is to blame for its spread was “definitely false”, 12 per cent weren’t so convinced.
Thirteen per cent of respondents also indicated they thought Bill Gates had something to do with the spread of coronavirus while a further 13 per cent felt the virus was not deadly and was being used as a way to force vaccinations. Across all three of those respondent groups, 20 per cent were aged between 18 and 34, the highest age bracket, followed by 35 to 54 year olds and finally, those aged over 55.
Scientists and health authorities have repeatedly explained the virus is spread through droplets in the air or on surfaces and not through wireless networks.
Perhaps the most surprising result from the poll was the higher percentages believing Chinese authorities had engineered the virus and released it from a lab in its first epicentre, Wuhan.
Thirty-nine per cent of the more than 1,000 respondents believed this was either definitely or probably true while another 39 per cent dismissed the theory. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed felt they didn’t know enough to come to a decision.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied this claim calling it baseless and damaging to research efforts searching for the original source.
“The WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] does not have the intention and the ability to design and construct a new coronavirus,” a professor from WIV said in a written statement to Reuters. “Moreover, there is no information within the SARS-CoV-2 genome indicating it was manmade.”
Over the past few weeks there has been an alarming uptick in social media posts linking coronavirus to the 5G rollout. Some draw comparisons between the new mobile network and the spread of the virus itself. Others claim the virus is a manufactured ruse to force people inside while the government fast tracks the construction of more 5G towers. Unlike other 5G theories, these posts aren't merely relegated to the bowels of Reddit and fringe Facebook groups. They're gaining mainstream traction and enjoying pronounced plausibility thanks to celebrity endorsements. They have now gained enough traction to manifest real world violence.Read more
On Tuesday morning, the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher lashed out against the 5G conspiracy theories crowding internet forums, stating there was absolutely zero evidence available.
“Any suggestions that there is a link between 5G and coronavirus are utterly baseless. As the Chief Medical Officer has said, 5G does not cause the coronavirus and it does not spread coronavirus,” Minister Fletcher said in a press release.
Overseas, reports have shown conspiracy theorists have taken to destroying 5G structures such as mobile phone towers. Two towers in Auckland, New Zealand were set on fire in early May and the United Kingdom has seen a number of attacks, organised through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Minister Fletcher reminded Australians this was a criminal offence and anyone planning to do the same thing here could face fines and jail time.
“Interfering or tampering with telecommunications facilities is a criminal offence. The Australian Government will not tolerate any vandalism of communications infrastructure and I urge Australians to report any suspicious activity to their local police,” Minister Fletcher said in the release.
“Causing damage to mobile phone networks can cut vital connectivity, risking serious harm, even death, if a person is unable to contact Triple Zero.”
The world might be in the middle of deadly pandemic but another battle is raging in internet communities. Conspiracy theorists have been spreading disinformation that 5G technology is the cause of the coronavirus crisis and it's gotten enough traction that the NSW government has had to debunk it.Read more