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From the editor’s desk: Are electromagnetic waves culpable in making us sick?

30 June 2020 News

When I started writing my column for this issue, I was determined to come up with a topic and a way to avoid mentioning the ‘C’ word. I came close – you will only find ‘COVID-19’ mentioned once or twice in the rest of this column.

There have been sensationalistic claims lately that 5G is causing COVID-19, and equally vociferous disclaims from the scientific community and well-recognised news outlets that the idea is preposterous. If the preceding words have piqued your interest, I urge you to read Prof. Johan Meyer’s article (beginning on the page opposite if you’re reading the PDF or e-Book version, or at http://www.dataweek.co.za/10678r if you’re reading this online).

A close relative of mine suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). According to Wikipedia, EHS “has no scientific basis and is not a recognised medical diagnosis. Claims are characterised by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to electromagnetic fields.”

As an electronic engineer, much of the first two years of my university education consisted of courses in fundamental scientific principles. My first instinct was therefore to dismiss my relative’s claims as being attributable to some other cause.

But no amount of education and words can convince a person that logic or science can make them stop feeling what they feel. She subsequently told me that walking around her garden for a few minutes several times a day – effectively earthing herself – has made her feel significantly better.


Brett van den Bosch, Editor.

I think most engineers’ first instincts would be, as mine was, to dismiss the concept of EHS as hocus pocus. But engineers are the people responsible for essentially putting science into practice, and there is an undeniable liability on engineers’ parts to do this without harming individuals or society as a whole (Prof. Meyer’s article goes into much detail on this point).

Do I believe that global 5G rollout has somehow ‘caused’ COVID-19? Not in the slightest. Do I believe that 5G, due to its frequency range and power output, can affect people’s immune systems and other aspects of our physiology? Absolutely I do… subject to proper testing and study of the possibility.

Even the world’s leading scientists on this topic can’t provide us with definitive answers to these questions at this time. To test the short-term and long-term effects of 5G transmitters on people would require years of rigorous study, and put the test subjects’ lives at risk. But it’s being rolled out nonetheless.

You are the test subject. You cannot choose to opt in or opt out.


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