Fact check: Studies on COVID-19 and 5G radiation not government admission of link
The claim: Studies prove US government acknowledges 5G radiation causes COVID-19
A Jan. 26 Rumble video shows a photo of Dr. Anthony Fauci and an old claim about the origin of COVID-19.
"U.S. Government Admits '5G Radiation Causes COVID-19' – Stunning Admission," reads the video title.
The video caption contains the top of a Jan. 26 NewsPunch article that attributes that assertion to "new peer-reviewed scientific studies."
The Rumble post – made by NewsPunch's parent company, the People's Voice – was shared on Facebook more than 800 times in a week, according to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool.
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Our rating: False
The posts point to two studies that appeared in federal databases. But one study was withdrawn before printing, and the other explicitly says it doesn't prove a link between COVID-19 and 5G. The claim originates with a serial producer of misinformation.
Studies were never endorsed by government
The article and video both point to studies accessible through PubMed and PubMed Central, online repositories of journal articles managed by the National Library of Medicine. They claim the existence of the articles in the databases is tantamount to government endorsement of their findings.
Allison Elam, a spokesperson for the library, said that notion is wrong.
"To be clear, the presence of any specific article or citation in NLM’s physical or electronic collections, including PubMed and PubMed Central ... does not constitute agreement with, or endorsement of, or promotion of its contents by the NLM, the NIH, or the U.S. federal government," she wrote in an email to USA TODAY.
Her comments echo a disclaimer on the site that stresses the library only collects journal articles and does not endorse them.
Regardless, the studies don't prove what the claim asserts.
The first study, "5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells," was to be included in the July 2020 issue of the Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, but it was retracted before the publication went to print. The journal’s editors cited "evidence of substantial manipulation of the peer review." All that remains on PubMed is the retraction notice and explanation.
The other study, "Evidence for a connection between COVID-19 and exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless communications including 5G," was published in October 2021, in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Research. It noted symptoms claimed to be associated with 5G radiation exposure are similar to those from COVID-19**. But the study explicitly said "none of the observations discussed here prove this linkage," and "The evidence does not confirm causation."
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The claim also calls the studies "new," but they were published in July 2020 and October 2021, respectively.
USA TODAY has debunked the purported link between 5G and COVID-19 since the first months of the pandemic, noting that The World Health Organization had issued a statement dispelling myths that 5G caused COVID-19.
Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the radiation from 5G signals causes COVID-19 or at least its symptoms, often pointing out that the outbreak began shortly after the first 5G networks in China were activated.
NewsPunch is a frequent source of misinformation that has published fabricated stories about COVID-19 and other health-related topics. USA TODAY has debunked stories from the site claiming the World Economic Forum banned vaccinated pilots from its conference, that the German government said investigating vaccines would be a threat to democracy and that eating eggs is linked to blood clots.
USA TODAY reached out to NewsPunch for comment.
Lead Stories and PolitiFact debunked similar claims.
Our fact-check sources:
Allison Elam, Feb. 3, Email exchange with USA TODAY
PubMed, July 16, 2020, RETRACTED: 5G Technology and induction of coronavirus in skin cells
PubMed Central, Oct. 26, 2021, Evidence for a connection between COVID-19 and exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless communications including 5G
National Library of Medicine, accessed Feb. 3, Disclaimer - PubMed
USA TODAY, Mar 21, 2020, Here's why 5G and coronavirus are not connected
USA TODAY, April 23, 2020, Fact check: 5G technology is not linked to coronavirus
Retraction Watch, Aug. 7, 2020, ‘Some papers can slip through the net,’ says journal that published 5G-COVID-19 paper
Lead Stories, Jan. 31, Fact Check: US Government Did NOT Say 5G Causes COVID-19 -- Link To Retracted Paper Is NO Endorsement
PolitiFact, Dec. 21, 2021, No, 5G technology does not cause COVID-19 symptoms
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Government never endorsed studies tying COVID-19 to 5G