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Probing the 5G, COVID-19 connection debate



THE jury is not yet out on the global plague of corona virus, COVID-19. If anything, the pandemic is still nascent. Taking count of its causalities will be better done later when the saga abates.

  One thing however has come with the COVID-19 pandemic that requires clear conclusion on. It is the emergence of the 5G telecommunication technology which came into countries such as Nigeria amid the heat of the COVID-19 saga.

The fifth generation (5G) telecoms innovation which comes along with strange traits as having planted in human bodies hence making it possible that people who have it in them can walk around without their telephone sets and still receive as well as make calls.

  There are other properties of the 5G tech that appear scary and abnormal to pre-existing personal and social culture.

  Somehow, the strange properties of the new technology played into the pervading mindset of the world rattled by the COVID-19 pandemic which overwhelms everyone with fear. 

  Fear of another virus coming on board to infest mankind like the corona virus fueled instinctive resistance of the 5G. Religious leaders who ordinarily are skeptical of new scientific developments to tend to ‘original’ human nature, bioethical considerations to latch on the climate of fear and dealt heavy knocks on the 5G. Populist politicians, pundits, propagandists, industry rival hit hard at the new technology.

  Almost as soon as it emerged there was a wave of comments that linked the 5G with COVID-19. It is of such magnitude that ordinary folks are confused and left with no clear pointer to who or what to believe.

  Basically, 5G refers to a generational progression in telecommunication or information communication (IT) models and gadgetry. A more graphic explanation of the technology is to add timeline.

While 1G refers to the analogue era of telephony such as the 1970s through the 1990s when table-top wire-linked rotary-dial sets reigned, 2G which was the trend in the 1990s until the new millennium referred to when the desk phone sets, pagers and the heavy ‘090’ cellular handsets were in vogue.

In the era of 3G which was the first half decade of the new millennium, telcos provided rotary-dial table-top sets reign along with mobile phones, text pagers and internet services. Since around 2008 or 2009, the 4G technology has been in Nigeria.

 It’s most visible traits have been table-tops, text messages, cellular mobile and smart phones as well as Internet services and video communications. 5G which debuts this new decade therefore comes with advancement in telcos’ service and improvement in communication gadgets.

With all the properties of 4G still available, 5G promises higher definition (HD) services on them and more. That ‘more’ is yet to be known because the fifth generation of communication can, at best, be described as stillborn now.          

  The circumstances marring, necessitating or encouraging the new tech’s emergence is what National Light commits to unraveling in this edition which collates views that have stood out from the crossfire of contending comments that has marked the engaging debate on 5G and COVID-19.

You are urged to read with discretion and to note what the cybersecurity specialist, Abdul Hakeem Ajijola of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), noted in the Abuja Chapter of the body’s website.

His advices thus: “As educated people, we need to read authoritative sources about a subject matter or listen to experts on it to qualify ourselves to comment on it.”

  We therefore offer the opportunity for deeper interrogation and understanding of the issues relating to 5G connection with COVID-19, if such a thing exits.  

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