“What connects the actor Woody Harrelson, the wife of tennis star Novak Djokovic and the brother of former Labour boss Jeremy Corbyn? The three suspect that covid-19 diseases could at least be promoted by radiation from 5G antennas. And they are not alone in this,” writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung today in an article online. (in German)

Even Swiss mobile phone opponent Hans-U. Jakob writes in a letter to parliamentarians that the distribution of COVID-19 might be favoured by 5G.

That 5G opponents often spread conspiracy myths is nothing new. It is interesting how the NZZ gets to the bottom of this.

First of all, they acknowledge that COVID-19 is particularly common where there are also the most 5G antennas.

“The most convincing argument for an effect is two juxtaposed world maps that have been circulated on the web: One shows where 5G antennas are in operation everywhere. The other shows how the Covid-19 cases are distributed across the globe.

The comparison suggests that the more 5G antennas there are in a region, the more Covid 19 cases are recorded there. This rough picture is not altered by the fact that, according to the map, only two 5G antennas are currently in operation in Lombardy, which was heavily affected by the pandemic.

The fact that the discrepancy in the last sentence is not intended to change anything about the picture makes one sit up and take notice. How can such a quite clear refutation of the hypothesis not change anything about the picture? Especially when it is not the only one: in Iran, which was a COVID 19 hotspot for a while, there is no 5G at all. And what about New Zealand, where there are 5G antennas, but COVID-19 has disappeared?

If a hypothesis is formulated in a falsifiable way and it is possible to find facts that contradict the hypothesis, then this cannot simply be ignored.

At least in the end the NZZ provides a good explanation:

“But the two together strongly suggest a spurious correlation. This means that the fact that two things occur together in large numbers – i.e. are correlated – does not mean that one causes the other.

(The term “spurious correlation” is somewhat unfortunate in that a correlation actually exists – more accurate would be “spurious causality”).

Does the possession of a lighter increase the risk of lung cancer?

A good example is the link between lighters and lung cancer. Statistically, the possession of a lighter may be strongly correlated with lung cancer. Nevertheless, no one would seriously claim that lighters cause lung cancer – of course it is smoking. But because smokers are more likely to own a lighter than non-smokers, there is still a correlation.

Everything suggests that the correlation between Covid-19 and 5G is also due to such a spurious correlation. It is not the absolute number of 5G antennas (lighters) that explains part of the Covid-19 deaths in the cantons, but the number of inhabitants (smoking).

This was confirmed by our statistical tests (multiple regression analysis). The correlation between 5G antennas and corona death victims is almost zero when population is included as an explanatory factor.”

Conclusion

Not everything that might sound plausible at first glance stands up to critical examination. If one finds facts that contradict the presumption, one must discard the presumption and seek another explanation that is compatible with all the facts.