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False claim: Coronavirus is a hoax and part of a wider 5G and human microchipping conspiracy

Facebook posts carrying a message that COVID-19 is fake and that the pandemic is part of a wider conspiracy to deploy 5G network towers and microchip people have been shared thousands of times as of May 13, 2020. The information in these posts is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

The posts (here, here) show an image of a printed message on a poster. It reads: “There was never a COVID-19. Read this. Coronavirus is fake! It was a huge cover up to allow deployment of 5G network towers, which are the real cause for the virus deaths, they are releasing extreme amounts of radiation to your body through your phone signal! The 5G will also give the government access to your information and location through an R.F.I.D chip in the vaccine said to immunize you. You will lose all rights to privacy, bank and personal info. Don’t take the vaccine!! Our governments are lying to us!! Please be aware. Pass the message. Research. We need to stop this.”

The coronavirus outbreak started with a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin in Wuhan, China, which Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31, 2019 (here). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says on its website that many of the early patients had links to a seafood and live animal market where a human might have contracted the virus from an animal. The virus then spread person-to-person (here). The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, tiredness, cough, and shortness of breath that can appear two to 14 days after being exposed to the virus (here). The coronavirus is spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets, for example in coughs and sneezes (here ). The World Health Organization states there have been over 285,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of May 13, 2020 (covid19.who.int/)

Claims that 5G networks, not COVID-19, are making people ill, are false. (here).

Mobile phone technology such as 5G uses radio waves, the lowest-energy form of radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum (here). As already explained, COVID-19 is not spread by radiation but by a virus that is passed via droplets from person to person.

Many countries affected by coronavirus do not yet have 5G coverage (here).

The poster also refers to RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) chips “in the vaccine said to immunize you”. No vaccine has yet been approved for use against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, though more than 100 are in development and at least 10 have reached the clinical testing stage (here). Reuters has previously debunked false claims on social media that U.S. philanthropist Bill Gates planned to use microchip implants to fight the coronavirus (here).

VERDICT

False. The COVID-19 pandemic is not a fake; it is a global outbreak that has killed more than 285,000 people. The disease is spread by a virus, not by 5G technology, and there is no vaccine containing an RFID chip.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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