5G theory is not the only conspiracy theory associated with the new coronavirus.
Some people have mistakenly linked the pandemic to the Bill Gates Foundation, while others have linked the virus to biological weapons created by China or the United States.
When time is of the essence, "people are motivated to find explanations that give them a sense of purpose, even if they are false." So, they are looking for models that do not exist.
"We need something under control," said Ani Sternisko, a researcher in social psychology at New York University. "Perhaps it is more comforting to have a comprehensive secret that dictates the severity of the virus than to acknowledge that the world and humanity are affected by it," she said.
On the other hand, if people believe that Covid-19 was created by the so-called Deep State or by telecommunications companies obsessed with profit, that's a problem for everyone.
The problem was sparked by a mistaken viral video on YouTube on March 12, 2020, posted by the anti-vaccination group Health Parents, in which a doctor on a disciplinary penalty named Thomas Cowan linked 5G networks to the virus, claiming that urban areas are most severely affected by Covid-19.
The video was deleted, but not before American singer Carrie Hilson shared it with 2.3 million followers.
There is no scientific basis for linking a 5G wireless network to a cowboy-19.
5G is the latest generation of wireless networks that is faster and more efficient than previous ones.
Like 3G or 4G and 5G, it is transmitted via radio waves, an undamaged part of the electromagnetic spectrum. 5G is simply confusing and that confusion creates uncertainty. And conspiracy theories come with uncertainty. If the relationship between 5G and coronavirus has no evidence, why do people still believe it?
Conspiracy theories appeal to people for a variety of reasons. Van Bavel believes that "people often want someone or a group to be blamed", while Merkel notes that when scared people are eager to explain, they are angry and look for a target for their anger.
There is also a social aspect to conspiracy theories. Sternisko notes that a sense of unity over a common cause can attract people into conspiracy movements.
The idea that you really know the truth also helps people feel "special and unique."
"People are also creating conspiracy theories for different purposes." Some people want attention. Others want to advance their political careers or influence public opinion. Many want to make a living by profiting from uncertainty.
"I think any group that has a reason to promote themselves will jump on this," said Merkel, who warned people to watch out for current pandemic profiteers.