Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
Evidence for a connection between coronavirus disease-19 and exposure
to radiofrequency radiation from wireless communications including 5G
Beverly Rubik1,2*, Robert R. Brown3
1Department of Mind-Body Medicine, College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences, Saybrook University, Pasadena CA, USA, 2Institute for
Frontier Science, Oakland, CA, USA, 3Department of Radiology, Hamot Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Erie, PA; Radiology
Partners, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Background and Aim: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) public health policy has focused on the
severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and its effects on human health
while environmental factors have been largely ignored. In considering the epidemiological triad
(agent-host-environment) applicable to all disease, we investigated a possible environmental factor
in the COVID-19 pandemic: ambient radiofrequency radiation from wireless communication systems
including microwaves and millimeter waves. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19
pandemic, surfaced in Wuhan, China shortly after the implementation of city-wide (fifth generation
[5G] of wireless communications radiation [WCR]), and rapidly spread globally, initially demonstrating
a statistical correlation to international communities with recently established 5G networks. In this
study, we examined the peer-reviewed scientific literature on the detrimental bioeffects of WCR and
identified several mechanisms by which WCR may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as
a toxic environmental cofactor. By crossing boundaries between the disciplines of biophysics and
pathophysiology, we present evidence that WCR may: (1) cause morphologic changes in erythrocytes
including echinocyte and rouleaux formation that can contribute to hypercoagulation; (2) impair
microcirculation and reduce erythrocyte and hemoglobin levels exacerbating hypoxia; (3) amplify
immune system dysfunction, including immunosuppression, autoimmunity, and
(4) increase cellular oxidative stress and the production of free radicals resulting in vascular injury
and organ damage; (5) increase intracellular Ca2+ essential for viral entry, replication, and release,
in addition to promoting pro-inflammatory pathways; and (6) worsen heart arrhythmias and cardiac
Relevance for Patients: In short, WCR has become a ubiquitous environmental stressor that we
propose may have contributed to adverse health outcomes of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2
and increased the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we recommend that all people,
particularly those suffering from SARS-CoV-2 infection, reduce their exposure to WCR as much as
reasonably achievable until further research better clarifies the systemic health effects associated with
chronic WCR exposure.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been the focus of international public health
policy since 2020. Despite unprecedented public health protocols to quell the pandemic,
the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. We propose a reassessment of our public
Journal of Clinical and Translational Research
Journal homepage: http://www.jctres.com/en/home
Received: March 10, 2021
Revised: June 11, 2021
Accepted: August 25, 2021
Published online: September 29, 2021
severe acute respiratory syndrome
College of Integrative Medicine and Health
Sciences, Saybrook University, Pasadena CA;
Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, CA,
USA. E-mail: email@example.com
© 2021 Rubik and Brown. This is an Open-
Access article distributed under the terms
of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-
Commercial 4.0 International License (http://
permitting all non-commercial use, distribution,
and reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681 667
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the simplest model of disease causation is the
epidemiological triad consisting of three interactive factors:
the agent (pathogen), the environment, and the health status of
the host . Extensive research is being done on the agent, severe
acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Risk
factors that make a host more likely to succumb to the disease
have been elucidated. However, environmental factors have not
been sufficiently explored. In this paper, we investigated the
role of wireless communication radiation (WCR), a widespread
We explore the scientific evidence suggesting a possible
relationship between COVID-19 and radiofrequency radiation
related to wireless communications technology including
fifth generation (5G) of wireless communications technology,
henceforth referred to as WCR. WCR has already been recognized
as a form of environmental pollution and physiological
stressor . Assessing the potentially detrimental health effects
of WCR may be crucial to develop an effective, rational public
health policy that may help expedite eradication of the COVID-19
pandemic. In addition, because we are on the verge of worldwide
5G deployment, it is critical to consider the possible damaging
health effects of WCR before the public is potentially harmed.
5G is a protocol that will use high frequency bands and
extensive bandwidths of the electromagnetic spectrum in the vast
radiofrequency range from 600 MHz to nearly 100 GHz, which
includes millimeter waves (>20 GHz), in addition to the currently
used third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) longterm
evolution (LTE) microwave bands. 5G frequency spectrum
allocations differ from country to country. Focused pulsed beams
of radiation will emit from new base stations and phased array
antennas placed close to buildings whenever persons access the
5G network. Because these high frequencies are strongly absorbed
by the atmosphere and especially during rain, a transmitter’s range
is limited to 300 meters. Therefore, 5G requires base stations
and antennas to be much more closely spaced than previous
generations. Plus, satellites in space will emit 5G bands globally
to create a wireless worldwide web. The new system therefore
requires significant densification of 4G infrastructure as well as
new 5G antennas that may dramatically increase the population’s
WCR exposure both inside structures and outdoors. Approximately
100,000 emitting satellites are planned to be launched into orbit. This
infrastructure will significantly alter the world’s electromagnetic
environment to unprecedented levels and may cause unknown
consequences to the entire biosphere, including humans. The new
infrastructure will service the new 5G devices, including 5G mobile
phones, routers, computers, tablets, self-driving vehicles, machineto-
machine communications, and the Internet of Things.
The global industry standard for 5G is set by the 3G
Partnership Project (3GPP), which is an umbrella term for
several organizations developing standard protocols for mobile
telecommunications. The 5G standard specifies all key aspects of
the technology, including frequency spectrum allocation, beamforming,
beam steering, multiplexing multiple in, multiple out
schemes, as well as modulation schemes, among others. 5G will
utilize from 64 to 256 antennas at short distances to serve virtually
simultaneously a large number of devices within a cell. The
latest finalized 5G standard, Release 16, is codified in the 3GPP
published Technical Report TR 21.916 and may be downloaded
from the 3GPP server at https://www.3gpp.org/specifications.
Engineers claim that 5G will offer performance up to 10 times
that of current 4G networks .
COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China in December 2019,
shortly after city-wide 5G had “gone live,” that is, become an
operational system, on October 31, 2019. COVID-19 outbreaks
soon followed in other areas where 5G had also been at least
partially implemented, including South Korea, Northern Italy,
New York City, Seattle, and Southern California. In May 2020,
Mordachev  reported a statistically significant correlation
between the intensity of radiofrequency radiation and the mortality
from SARS-CoV-2 in 31 countries throughout the world. During
the first pandemic wave in the United States, COVID-19 attributed
cases and deaths were statistically higher in states and major cities
with 5G infrastructure as compared with states and cities that did
not yet have this technology .
There is a large body of peer reviewed literature, since before
World War II, on the biological effects of WCR that impact many
aspects of our health. In examining this literature, we found
intersections between the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2 and
detrimental bioeffects of WCR exposure. Here, we present the
evidence suggesting that WCR has been a possible contributing
factor exacerbating COVID-19.
1.2. Overview on COVID-19
The clinical presentation of COVID-19 has proven to be highly
variable, with a wide range of symptoms and variability from
case to case. According to the CDC, early disease symptoms may
include sore throat, headache, fever, cough, chills, among others.
More severe symptoms including shortness of breath, high fever,
and severe fatigue may occur in a later stage. The neurological
sequela of taste and smell loss has also been described.
Ing et al.  determined 80% of those affected have mild
symptoms or none, but older populations and those with
comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, have
a greater risk for severe disease . Acute respiratory distress
syndrome (ARDS) can rapidly occur  and cause severe shortness
of breath as endothelial cells lining blood vessels and epithelial
cells lining airways lose their integrity, and protein rich fluid leaks
into adjacent air sacs. COVID-19 can cause insufficient oxygen
levels (hypoxia) that have been seen in up to 80% of intensive care
unit (ICU) patients  exhibiting respiratory distress. Decreased
oxygenation and elevated carbon dioxide levels in patients’ blood
have been observed, although the etiology for these findings
Massive oxidative damage to the lungs has been observed in
areas of airspace opacification documented on chest radiographs
and computed tomography (CT) scans in patients with
SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia . This cellular stress may indicate a
biochemical rather than a viral etiology .
668 Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
Because disseminated virus can attach itself to cells containing
an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor; it can
spread and damage organs and soft tissues throughout the
body, including the lungs, heart, intestines, kidneys, blood
vessels, fat, testes, and ovaries, among others. The disease can
increase systemic inflammation and induce a hypercoagulable
state. Without anticoagulation, intravascular blood clots can be
In COVID-19 patients referred to as “long-haulers,” symptoms
can wax and wane for months . Shortness of breath, fatigue,
joint pain, and chest pain can become persistent symptoms.
Post-infectious brain fog, cardiac arrhythmia, and new onset
hypertension have also been described. Long-term chronic
complications of COVID-19 are being defined as epidemiological
data are collected over time.
As our understanding of COVID-19 continues to evolve,
environmental factors, particularly those of wireless
communication electromagnetic fields, remain unexplored
variables that may be contributing to the disease including its
severity in some patients. Next, we summarize the bioeffects
of WCR exposure from the peer reviewed scientific literature
published over decades.
1.3. Overview on bioeffects of WCR exposure
Organisms are electrochemical beings. Low-level WCR from
devices, including mobile telephony base antennas, wireless
network protocols utilized for the local networking of devices and
internet access, trademarked as Wi-Fi (officially IEEE 802.11b
Direct Sequence protocol; IEEE, Institute of Electrical and
Electronic Engineers) by the Wi-Fi alliance, and mobile phones,
among others, may disrupt regulation of numerous physiological
functions. Non-thermal bioeffects (below the power density that
causes tissue heating) from very low-level WCR exposure have
been reported in numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications
at power densities below the International Commission on Non-
Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) exposure guidelines .
Low-level WCR has been found to impact the organism at all levels
of organization, from the molecular to the cellular, physiological,
behavioral, and psychological levels. Moreover, it has been shown
to cause systemic detrimental health effects including increased
cancer risk , endocrine changes , increased free radical
production , deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage ,
changes to the reproductive system , learning and memory
defects , and neurological disorders . Having evolved
within Earth’s extremely low-level natural radiofrequency
background, organisms lack the ability to adapt to heightened
levels of unnatural radiation of wireless communications
technology with digital modulation that includes short intense
The peer-reviewed world scientific literature has documented
evidence for detrimental bioeffects from WCR exposure
including 5G frequencies over several decades. The Soviet and
Eastern European literature from 1960 to 1970s demonstrates
significant biological effects, even at exposure levels more
than 1000 times below 1 mW/cm2, the current guideline for
maximum public exposure in the US. Eastern studies on animal
and human subjects were performed at low exposure levels
(<1 mW/cm2) for long durations (typically months). Adverse
bioeffects from WCR exposure levels below 0.001 mW/cm2
have also been documented in the Western literature. Damage to
human sperm viability including DNA fragmentation by internetconnected
laptop computers at power densities from 0.0005 to
0.001 mW/cm2 has been reported . Chronic human exposure
to 0.000006 – 0.00001 mW/cm2 produced significant changes in
human stress hormones following a mobile phone base station
installation . Human exposures to cell phone radiation at
0.00001 – 0.00005 mW/cm2 resulted in complaints of headache,
neurological problems, sleep problems, and concentration
problems, corresponding to “microwave sickness” [24,25]. The
effects of WCR on prenatal development in mice placed near
an “antenna park” exposed to power densities from 0.000168 to
0.001053 mW/cm2 showed a progressive decrease in the number
of newborns and ended in irreversible infertility . Most US
research has been performed over short durations of weeks or less.
In recent years, there have been few long-term studies on animals
Illness from WCR exposure has been documented since
the early use of radar. Prolonged exposure to microwaves and
millimeter waves from radar was associated with various
disorders termed “radio-wave sickness” decades ago by Russian
scientists. A wide variety of bioeffects from nonthermal power
densities of WCR were reported by Soviet research groups
since the 1960s. A bibliography of over 3700 references on
the reported biological effects in the world scientific literature
was published in 1972 (revised 1976) by the US Naval Medical
Research Institute [27,28]. Several relevant Russian studies are
summarized as follows. Research on Escherichia coli bacteria
cultures show power density windows for microwave resonance
effects for 51.755 GHz stimulation of bacterial growth, observed
at extremely low power densities of 10−13 mW/cm2 ,
illustrating an extremely low level bioeffect. More recently
Russian studies confirmed earlier results of Soviet research
groups on the effects of 2.45 GHz at 0.5 mW/cm2 on rats (30 days
exposure for 7 h/day), demonstrating the formation of antibodies
to the brain (autoimmune response) and stress reactions .
In a long-term (1 – 4 year) study comparing children who use
mobile phones to a control group, functional changes, including
greater fatigue, decreased voluntary attention, and weakening
of semantic memory, among other adverse psychophysiological
changes, were reported . Key Russian research reports that
underlie the scientific basis for Soviet and Russian WCR exposure
guidelines to protect the public, which are much lower than the
US guidelines, have been summarized .
By comparison to the exposure levels employed in these
studies, we measured the ambient level of WCR from 100 MHz
to 8 GHz in downtown San Francisco, California in December,
2020, and found an average power density of 0.0002 mW/cm2.
This level is from the superposition of multiple WCR devices.
It is approximately 2 × 1010 times above the natural background.
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681 669
Pulsed radio-frequency radiation such as WCR exhibits
substantially different bioeffects, both qualitatively and
quantitatively (generally more pronounced) compared to
continuous waves at similar time-averaged power densities [33-36].
The specific interaction mechanisms are not well understood.
All types of wireless communications employ extremely low
frequency (ELFs) in the modulation of the radiofrequency carrier
signals, typically pulses to increase the capacity of information
transmitted. This combination of radiofrequency radiation with
ELF modulation(s) is generally more bioactive, as it is surmised
that organisms cannot readily adapt to such rapidly changing
wave forms [37-40]. Therefore, the presence of ELF components
of radiofrequency waves from pulsing or other modulations must
be considered in studies on the bioeffects of WCR. Unfortunately,
the reporting of such modulations has been unreliable, especially
in older studies .
The BioInitiative Report , authored by 29 experts from ten
countries, and updated in 2020, provides a scholarly contemporary
summary of the literature on the bioeffects and health consequences
from WCR exposure, including a compendium of supporting
research. Recent reviews have been published [43-46]. Two
comprehensive reviews on the bioeffects of millimeter waves report
that even short-term exposures produce marked bioeffects [47,48].
An ongoing literature study of the unfolding pathophysiology of
SARS-CoV-2 was performed. To investigate a possible connection
to bioeffects from WCR exposure, we examined over 250 peerreviewed
research reports from 1969 to 2021, including reviews
and studies on cells, animals, and humans. We included the world
literature in English and Russian reports translated to English,
on radio frequencies from 600 MHz to 90 GHz, the carrier wave
spectrum of WCR (2G to 5G inclusive), with particular emphasis
on nonthermal, low power densities (<1 mW/cm2), and long-term
exposures. The following search terms were used in queries in
MEDLINE® and the Defense Technical Information Center (https://
discover.dtic.mil) to find relevant study reports: radiofrequency
radiation, microwave, millimeter wave, radar, MHz, GHz, blood,
red blood cell, erythrocyte, hemoglobin, hemodynamic, oxygen,
hypoxia, vascular, inflammation, pro-inflammatory, immune,
lymphocyte, T cell, cytokine, intracellular calcium, sympathetic
function, arrhythmia, heart, cardiovascular, oxidative stress,
glutathione, reactive oxygen species (ROS), COVID-19, virus,
and SARS-CoV-2. Occupational studies on WCR exposed workers
were included in the study. Our approach is akin to Literature-
Related Discovery, in which two concepts that have heretofore
not been linked are explored in the literature searches to look for
linkage(s) to produce novel, interesting, plausible, and intelligible
knowledge, that is, potential discovery . From analysis of
these studies in comparison with new information unfolding on
the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV-2, we identified several ways
in which adverse bioeffects of WCR exposure intersect with
COVID-19 manifestations and organized our findings into five
Table 1. Bioeffects of Wireless Communication Radiation (WCR) exposure in relation to COVID‑19 manifestations and their progression
Wireless communications radiation (WCR) exposure bioeffects COVID‑19 manifestations
Short‑term: rouleaux, echinocytes
Long‑term: reduced blood clotting time, reduced hemoglobin, hemodynamic
Hemoglobin effects; vascular effects
→ Reduced hemoglobin in severe disease; autoimmune hemolytic
anemia; hypoxemia and hypoxia
→ Endothelial injury; impaired microcirculation; hypercoagulation;
disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC); pulmonary
Glutathione level decrease; free radicals and lipid peroxide increase; superoxide
dismutase activity decrease; oxidative injury in tissues and organs
Glutathione level decrease; free radical increase and damage;
→ Oxidative injury; organ damage in severe disease
Immune system disruption and activation
Immune suppression in some studies; immune hyperactivation in other studies
Long‑term: suppression of T‑lymphocytes; inflammatory biomarkers increased;
autoimmunity; organ injury
Immune system disruption and activation
Decreased production of T‑lymphocytes; elevated inflammatory
→ Immune hyperactivation and inflammation; cytokine storm in
severe disease; cytokine‑induced hypo‑perfusion with resulting
hypoxia; organ injury; organ failure
Increased intracellular calcium
From activation of voltage‑gated calcium channels on cell membranes, with
numerous secondary effects
Increased intracellular calcium
→ Increased virus entry, replication, and release
→ Increased NF-κB, pro‑inflammatory processes, coagulation, and
Up‑regulation of sympathetic nervous system; palpitations and arrhythmias
→ Myocarditis; myocardial ischemia; cardiac injury; cardiac failure
Supportive evidence including study details and citations are provided in the text under each subject heading, i.e., blood changes, oxidative stress, etc.
670 Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
Table 1 lists the manifestations common to COVID-19 including
disease progression and the corresponding adverse bioeffects
from WCR exposure. Although these effects are delineated into
categories — blood changes, oxidative stress, immune system
disruption and activation, increased intracellular calcium (Ca2+),
and cardiac effects — it must be emphasized that these effects are
not independent of each other. For example, blood clotting and
inflammation have overlapping mechanisms, and oxidative stress
is implicated in erythrocyte morphological changes as well as in
hypercoagulation, inflammation, and organ damage.
3.1. Blood changes
WCR exposure can cause morphologic changes in blood readily
seen through phase contrast or dark-field microscopy of live
peripheral blood samples. In 2013, Havas observed erythrocyte
aggregation including rouleaux (rolls of stacked red blood cells) in
live peripheral blood samples following 10 min human exposure
to a 2.4 GHz cordless phone . Although not peer reviewed,
one of us (Rubik) investigated the effect of 4G LTE mobile phone
radiation on the peripheral blood of ten human subjects, each of
whom had been exposed to cell phone radiation for two consecutive
45-min intervals . Two types of effects were observed:
increased stickiness and clumping of red blood cells with rouleaux
formation, and subsequent formation of echinocytes (spiky red
blood cells). Red blood cell clumping and aggregation are known
to be actively involved in blood clotting . The prevalence of
this phenomenon on exposure to WCR in the human population
has not yet been determined. Larger controlled studies should be
performed to further investigate this phenomenon.
Similar red blood cell changes have been described in peripheral
blood of COVID-19 patients . Rouleaux formation has been
observed in 1/3 of COVID-19 patients, whereas spherocytes and
echinocyte formation is more variable. Spike protein engagement
with ACE2 receptors on cells lining the blood vessels can lead
to endothelial damage, even when isolated . Rouleaux
formation, particularly in the setting of underlying endothelial
damage, can clog the microcirculation, impeding oxygen
transport, contributing to hypoxia, and increasing the risk of
thrombosis . Thrombogenesis associated with SARS-CoV-2
infection may also be caused by direct viral binding to ACE2
receptors on platelets .
Additional blood effects have been observed in both humans
and animals exposed to WCR. In 1977, a Russian study reported
that rodents irradiated with 5 – 8 mm waves (60 – 37 GHz) at
1 mW/cm2 for 15 min/day over 60 days developed hemodynamic
disorders, suppressed red blood cell formation, reduced
hemoglobin, and an inhibition of oxygen utilization (oxidative
phosphorylation by the mitochondria) . In 1978, a 3-year
Russian study on 72 engineers exposed to millimeter wave
generators emitting at 1 mW/cm2 or less showed a decrease in
their hemoglobin levels and red blood cell counts, and a tendency
toward hypercoagulation, whereas a control group showed no
changes . Such deleterious hematologic effects from WCR
exposure may also contribute to the development of hypoxia and
blood clotting observed in COVID-19 patients.
It has been proposed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus attacks
erythrocytes and causes degradation of hemoglobin . Viral
proteins may attack the 1-beta chain of hemoglobin and capture
the porphyrin, along with other proteins from the virus catalyzing
the dissociation of iron from heme . In principle this would
reduce the number of functional erythrocytes and cause the
release of free iron ions that could cause oxidative stress, tissue
damage, and hypoxia. With hemoglobin partially destroyed and
lung tissue damaged by inflammation, patients would be less able
to exchange carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2), and would
become oxygen depleted. In fact, some COVID-19 patients
show reduced hemoglobin levels, measuring 7.1 g/L and
even as low as 5.9 g/L in severe cases . Clinical studies of
almost 100 patients from Wuhan revealed that the hemoglobin
levels in the blood of most patients infected with SARS-CoV-2
are significantly lowered resulting in compromised delivery
of oxygen to tissues and organs . In a meta-analysis of
four studies with a total of 1210 patients and 224 with severe
disease, hemoglobin values were reduced in COVID-19 patients
with severe disease compared to those with milder forms .
In another study on 601 COVID-19 patients, 14.7% of anemic
COVID-19 ICU patients and 9% of non-ICU COVID-19 patients
had autoimmune hemolytic anemia . In patients with severe
COVID-19 disease, decreased hemoglobin along with elevated
erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein, lactate
dehydrogenase, albumin , serum ferritin , and low oxygen
saturation  provide additional support for this hypothesis. In
addition, packed red blood cell transfusion may promote recovery
of COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory failure .
In short, both WCR exposure and COVID-19 may cause
deleterious effects on red blood cells and reduced hemoglobin levels
contributing to hypoxia in COVID-19. Endothelial injury may further
contribute to hypoxia and many of the vascular complications seen
in COVID-19  that are discussed in the next section.
3.2. Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is a non-specific pathological condition
reflecting an imbalance between an increased production of ROS
and an inability of the organism to detoxify the ROS or to repair
the damage they cause to biomolecules and tissues . Oxidative
stress can disrupt cell signaling, cause the formation of stress
proteins, and generate highly reactive free radicals, which can
cause DNA and cell membrane damage.
SARS-CoV-2 inhibits intrinsic pathways designed to reduce
ROS levels, thereby increasing morbidity. Immune dysregulation,
that is, the upregulation of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis
factor α (TNF-α)  and suppression of interferon (IFN) α and
IFN β  have been identified in the cytokine storm accompanying
severe COVID-19 infections and generates oxidative stress .
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction may further
perpetuate the cytokine storm, worsening tissue damage, and
increasing the risk of severe illness and death.
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681 671
Similarly low-level WCR generates ROS in cells that cause
oxidative damage. In fact, oxidative stress is considered to be
one of the primary mechanisms in which WCR exposure causes
cellular damage. Among 100 currently available peer-reviewed
studies investigating oxidative effects of low-intensity WCR, 93
of these studies confirmed that WCR induces oxidative effects in
biological systems . WCR is an oxidative agent with a high
pathogenic potential especially when exposure is continuous .
Oxidative stress is also an accepted mechanism causing
endothelial damage . This may manifest in patients with
severe COVID-19 in addition to increasing the risk for blood
clot formation and worsening hypoxemia . Low levels of
glutathione, the master antioxidant, have been observed in a small
group of COVID-19 patients, with the lowest level found in the
most severe cases . The finding of low glutathione levels in
these patients further supports oxidative stress as a component
of this disease . In fact, glutathione, the major source of
sulfhydryl-based antioxidant activity in the human body, may
be pivotal in COVID-19 . Glutathione deficiency has been
proposed as the most likely cause of serious manifestations
in COVID-19 . The most common co-morbidities,
hypertension ; obesity ; diabetes ; and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease  support the concept that preexisting
conditions causing low levels of glutathione may work
synergistically to create the “perfect storm” for both the respiratory
and vascular complications of severe infection. Another paper
citing two cases of COVID-19 pneumonia treated successfully
with intravenous glutathione also supports this hypothesis .
Many studies report oxidative stress in humans exposed to WCR.
Peraica et al.  found diminished blood levels of glutathione in
workers exposed to WCR from radar equipment (0.01 mW/cm2 –
10 mW/cm2; 1.5 – 10.9 GHz). Garaj-Vrhovac et al.  studied
bioeffects following exposure to non-thermal pulsed microwaves
from marine radar (3 GHz, 5.5 GHz, and 9.4 GHz) and reported
reduced glutathione levels and increased malondialdehyde (marker
for oxidative stress) in an occupationally exposed group .
Blood plasma of individuals residing near mobile phone base
stations showed significantly reduced glutathione, catalase, and
superoxide dismutase levels over unexposed controls . In a
study on human exposure to WCR from mobile phones, increased
blood levels of lipid peroxide were reported, while enzymatic
activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase in
the red blood cells decreased, indicating oxidative stress .
In a study on rats exposed to 2450 MHz (wireless router
frequency), oxidative stress was implicated in causing red blood
cell lysis (hemolysis) . In another study, rats exposed to 945
MHz (base station frequency) at 0.367 mW/cm2 for 7 h/day,
over 8 days, demonstrated low glutathione levels and increased
malondialdehyde and superoxide dismutase enzyme activity,
hallmarks for oxidative stress . In a long-term controlled
study on rats exposed to 900 MHz (mobile phone frequency)
at 0.0782 mW/cm2 for 2 h/day for 10 months, there was a
significant increase in malondialdehyde and total oxidant status
over controls . In another long-term controlled study on rats
exposed to two mobile phone frequencies, 1800 MHz and 2100
MHz, at power densities 0.04 – 0.127 mW/cm2 for 2 h/day over
7 months, significant alterations in oxidant-antioxidant parameters,
DNA strand breaks, and oxidative DNA damage were found .
There is a correlation between oxidative stress and
thrombogenesis . ROS can cause endothelial dysfunction and
cellular damage. The endothelial lining of the vascular system
contains ACE2 receptors that are targeted by SARS-CoV-2. The
resulting endotheliitis can cause luminal narrowing and result
in diminished blood flow to downstream structures. Thrombi
in arterial structures can further obstruct blood flow causing
ischemia and/or infarcts in involved organs, including pulmonary
emboli and strokes. Abnormal blood coagulation leading to
micro-emboli was a recognized complication early in the
history of COVID-19 . Out of 184 ICU COVID-19 patients,
31% showed thrombotic complications . Cardiovascular
clotting events are a common cause of COVID-19 deaths .
Pulmonary embolism, disseminated intravascular coagulation
(DIC), liver, cardiac, and renal failure have all been observed in
COVID-19 patients .
Patients with the highest cardiovascular risk factors in
COVID-19 includ males, the elderly, diabetics, and obese and
hypertensive patients. However, increased incidence of strokes in
younger patients with COVID-19 has also been described .
Oxidative stress is caused by WCR exposure and is known to be
implicated in cardiovascular disease. Ubiquitous environmental
exposure to WCR may contribute to cardiovascular disease
by creating a chronic state of oxidative stress . This would
lead to oxidative damage to cellular constituents and alter signal
transduction pathways. In addition, pulse-modulated WCR can
cause oxidative injury in liver, lung, testis, and heart tissues
mediated by lipid peroxidation, increased levels of nitric oxides,
and suppression of the antioxidant defense mechanism .
In summary, oxidative stress is a major component in the
pathophysiology of COVID-19 as well as in cellular damage
caused by WCR exposure.
3.3. Immune system disruption and activation
When SARS-CoV-2 first infects the human body, it attacks
cells lining the nose, throat, and upper airway harboring ACE2
receptors. Once the virus gains access to a host cell through one of
its spike proteins, which are the multiple protuberances projecting
from the viral envelope that bind to ACE2 receptors, it converts
the cell into a virus self-replicating entity.
In response to COVID-19 infection, both an immediate
systemic innate immune response as well as a delayed adaptive
response has been shown to occur . The virus can also
cause a dysregulation of the immune response, particularly in
the decreased production of T-lymphocytes. . Severe cases
tend to have lower lymphocyte counts, higher leukocyte counts
and neutrophil-lymphocyte ratios, as well as lower percentages
of monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils . Severe cases of
COVID-19 show the greatest impairment in T-lymphocytes.
In comparison, low-level WCR studies on laboratory
animals also show impaired immune function . Findings
672 Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
include physical alterations in immune cells, a degradation of
immunological responses, inflammation, and tissue damage.
Baranski  exposed guinea pigs and rabbits to continuous or
pulse-modulated 3000 MHz microwaves at an average power
density of 3.5 mW/cm2 for 3 h/day over 3 months and found
nonthermal changes in lymphocyte counts, abnormalities in nuclear
structure, and mitosis in the erythroblastic cell series in the bone
marrow and in lymphoid cells in lymph nodes and spleen. Other
investigators have shown diminished T-lymphocytes or suppressed
immune function in animals exposed to WCR. Rabbits exposed
to 2.1 GHz at 5mW/cm2 for 3 h/day, 6 days/week, for 3 months,
showed suppression of T-lymphocytes . Rats exposed to
2.45 GHz and 9.7 GHz for 2 h/day, 7 days/week, for 21 months
showed a significant decrease in the levels of lymphocytes and
an increase in mortality at 25 months in the irradiated group .
Lymphocytes harvested from rabbits irradiated with 2.45 GHz for
23 h/day for 6 months show a significant suppression in immune
response to a mitogen .
In 2009, Johansson conducted a literature review, which included
the 2007 Bioinitiative Report. He concluded that electromagnetic
fields (EMF) exposure, including WCR, can disturb the immune
system and cause allergic and inflammatory responses at exposure
levels significantly less than current national and international
safety limits and raise the risk for systemic disease .
A review conducted by Szmigielski in 2013 concluded that weak
RF/microwave fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones, can
affect various immune functions both in vitro and in vivo .
Although the effects are historically somewhat inconsistent, most
research studies document alterations in the number and activity of
immune cells from RF exposure. In general, short-term exposure
to weak microwave radiation may temporarily stimulate an innate
or adaptive immune response, but prolonged irradiation inhibits
those same functions.
In the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, blood tests
demonstrate elevated ESR, C-reactive protein, and other elevated
inflammatory markers , typical of an innate immune
response. Rapid viral replication can cause death of epithelial
and endothelial cells and result in leaky blood vessels and proinflammatory
cytokine release . Cytokines, proteins,
peptides, and proteoglycans that modulate the body’s immune
response, are modestly elevated in patients with mild-tomoderate
disease severity . In those with severe disease, an
uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines--a cytokine
storm--can occur. Cytokine storms originate from an imbalance
in T-cell activation with dysregulated release of IL-6, IL-17, and
other cytokines. Programmed cell death (apoptosis), ARDS, DIC,
and multi-organ system failure can all result from a cytokine
storm and increase the risk of mortality.
By comparison, Soviet researchers found in the 1970s that
radiofrequency radiation can damage the immune system of
animals. Shandala  exposed rats to 0.5 mW/cm2 microwaves
for 1 month, 7 h/day, and found impaired immune competence and
induction of autoimmune disease. Rats irradiated with 2.45 GHz
at 0.5 mW/cm2 for 7 h daily for 30 days produced autoimmune
reactions, and 0.1 – 0.5 mW/cm2 produced persistent pathological
immune reactions . Exposure to microwave radiation, even
at low levels (0.1 – 0.5 mW/cm2), can impair immune function,
causing physical alterations in the essential cells of the immune
system and a degradation of immunologic responses . Szabo
et al.  examined the effects of 61.2 GHz exposure on epidermal
keratinocytes and found an increase in IL-1b, a pro-inflammatory
cytokine. Makar et al.  found that immunosuppressed mice
irradiated 30 min/day for 3 days by 42.2 GHz showed increased
levels of TNF-α, a cytokine produced by macrophages.
In short, COVID-19 can lead to immune dysregulation as well
as cytokine storms. By comparison, exposure to low-level WCR
as observed in animal studies can also compromise the immune
system, with chronic daily exposure producing immunosuppression
or immune dysregulation including hyperactivation.
3.4. Increased intracellular calcium
In 1992, Walleczek first suggested that ELF electromagnetic
fields (<3000 Hz) may be affecting membrane-mediated Ca2+
signaling and lead to increased intracellular Ca2+ . The
mechanism of irregular gating of voltage-gated ion channels in
cell membranes by polarized and coherent, oscillating electric or
magnetic fields was first presented in 2000 and 2002 [40,111].
Pall  in his review of WCR-induced bioeffects combined with
use of calcium channel blockers (CCB) noted that voltage-gated
calcium channels play a major role in WCR bioeffects. Increased
intracellular Ca+2 results from the activation of voltage-gated
calcium channels, and this may be one of the primary mechanisms
of action of WCR on organisms.
Intracellular Ca2+ is essential for virus entry, replication, and
release. It has been reported that some viruses can manipulate
voltage-gated calcium channels to increase intracellular Ca2+
thereby facilitating viral entry and replication . Research
has shown that the interaction between a virus and voltage-gated
calcium channels promote virus entry at the virus-host cell fusion
step . Thus, after the virus binds to its receptor on a host
cell and enters the cell through endocytosis, the virus takes over
the host cell to manufacture its components. Certain viral proteins
then manipulate calcium channels, thereby increasing intracellular
Ca2+, which facilitates further viral replication.
Even though direct evidence has not been reported, there
is indirect evidence that increased intracellular Ca2+ may be
involved in COVID-19. In a recent study, elderly hospitalized
COVID-19 patients treated with CCBs, amlodipine or nifedipine,
were more likely to survive and less likely to require intubation
or mechanical ventilation than controls . Furthermore,
CCBs strongly limit SARS-CoV-2 entry and infection in cultured
epithelial lung cells . CCBs also block the increase of
intracellular Ca2+ caused by WCR exposure as well as exposure to
other electromagnetic fields .
Intracellular Ca2+ is a ubiquitous second messenger relaying
signals received by cell surface receptors to effector proteins
involved in numerous biochemical processes. Increased
intracellular Ca2+ is a significant factor in upregulation of
transcription nuclear factor KB (NF-κB) , an important
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681 673
regulator of pro-inflammatory cytokine production as well as
coagulation and thrombotic cascades. NF-κB is hypothesized
to be a key factor underlying severe clinical manifestations of
In short, WCR exposure, therefore, may enhance the infectivity
of the virus by increasing intracellular Ca2+ that may also indirectly
contribute to inflammatory processes and thrombosis.
3.5. Cardiac effects
Cardiac arrhythmias are more commonly encountered in
critically ill patients with COVID-19 . The cause for
arrhythmia in COVID-19 patients is multifactorial and includes
cardiac and extra-cardiac processes . Direct infection of the
heart muscle by SARS-CoV-19 causing myocarditis, myocardial
ischemia caused by a variety of etiologies, and heart strain
secondary to pulmonary or systemic hypertension can result in
cardiac arrhythmia. Hypoxemia caused by diffuse pneumonia,
ARDS, or extensive pulmonary emboli represent extra-cardiac
causes of arrhythmia. Electrolyte imbalances, intravascular fluid
imbalance, and side effects from pharmacologic regimens can also
result in arrhythmias in COVID-19 patients. Patients admitted
to ICUs have been shown to have a higher increase in cardiac
arrhythmias, 16.5% in one study . Although no correlation
between EMFs and arrhythmia in COVID-19 patients has been
described in the literature, many ICUs are equipped with wireless
patient monitoring equipment and communication devices
producing a wide range of EMF pollution .
COVID-19 patients commonly show increased levels of cardiac
troponin, indicating damage to the heart muscle . Cardiac
damage has been associated with arrhythmias and increased
mortality. Cardiac injury is thought to be more often secondary
to pulmonary emboli and viral sepsis, but direct infection of the
heart, that is, myocarditis, can occur through direct viral binding to
ACE2 receptors on cardiac pericytes, affecting local, and regional
cardiac blood flow .
Immune system activation along with alterations in the immune
system may result in atherosclerotic plaque instability and
vulnerability, that is, presenting an increased risk for thrombus
formation, and contributing to development of acute coronary
events and cardiovascular disease in COVID-19.
Regarding WCR exposure bioeffects, in 1969 Christopher
Dodge of the Biosciences Division, U.S. Naval Observatory
in Washington DC, reviewed 54 papers and reported that
radiofrequency radiation can adversely affect all major systems
of the body, including impeding blood circulation; altering blood
pressure and heart rate; affecting electrocardiograph readings;
and causing chest pain and heart palpitations . In the 1970s
Glaser reviewed more than 2000 publications on radiofrequency
radiation exposure bioeffects and concluded that microwave
radiation can alter the electrocardiogram, cause chest pain,
hypercoagulation, thrombosis, and hypertension in addition
to myocardial infarction [27,28]. Seizures, convulsions, and
alteration of the autonomic nervous system response (increased
sympathetic stress response) have also been observed.
Since then, many other researchers have concluded that WCR
exposure can affect the cardiovascular system. Although the nature
of the primary response to millimeter waves and consequent events
are poorly understood, a possible role for receptor structures and
neural pathways in the development of continuous millimeter
wave-induced arrhythmia has been proposed . In 1997, a
review reported that some investigators discovered cardiovascular
changes including arrhythmias in humans from long-term lowlevel
exposure to WCR including microwaves . However,
the literature also shows some unconfirmed findings as well as
some contradictory findings . Havas et al.  reported
that human subjects in a controlled, double-blinded study were
hyper-reactive when exposed to 2.45 GHz, digitally pulsed
(100 Hz) microwave radiation, developing either an arrhythmia or
tachycardia and upregulation of the sympathetic nervous system,
which is associated with the stress response. Saili et al. 
found that exposure to Wi-Fi (2.45 GHz pulsed at 10 Hz) affects
heart rhythm, blood pressure, and the efficacy of catecholamines
on the cardiovascular system, indicating that WCR can act directly
and/or indirectly on the cardiovascular system. Most recently,
Bandara and Weller  present evidence that people who live
near radar installations (millimeter waves: 5G frequencies) have a
greater risk of developing cancer and experiencing heart attacks.
Similarly, those occupationally exposed have a greater risk of
coronary heart disease. Microwave radiation affects the heart, and
some people are more vulnerable if they have an underlying heart
abnormality . More recent research suggests that millimeter
waves may act directly on the pacemaker cells of the sinoatrial
node of the heart to change the beat frequency, which may underlie
arrhythmias and other cardiac issues .
In short, both COVID-19 and WCR exposure can affect the
heart and cardiovascular system, directly and/or indirectly.
Epidemiologists, including those at the CDC, consider
multiple causal factors when evaluating the virulence of an agent
and understanding its ability to spread and cause disease. Most
importantly, these variables include environmental cofactors
and the health status of the host. Evidence from the literature
summarized here suggests a possible connection between several
adverse health effects of WCR exposure and the clinical course
of COVID-19 in that WCR may have worsened the COVID-19
pandemic by weakening the host and exacerbating COVID-19
disease. However, none of the observations discussed here
prove this linkage. Specifically, the evidence does not confirm
causation. Clearly COVID-19 occurs in regions with little wireless
communication. Furthermore, the relative morbidity caused by
WCR exposure in COVID-19 is unknown.
We recognize that many factors have influenced the
pandemic’s course. Before restrictions were imposed, travel
patterns facilitated the seeding of the virus, causing early rapid
global spread. Population density, higher mean population age,
and socioeconomic factors certainly influenced early viral
spread. Air pollution, especially particulate matter PM2.5 (2.5
674 Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
micro-particulates), likely increased symptoms in patients with
COVID-19 lung disease .
We postulate that WCR possibly contributed to the early spread
and severity of COVID-19. Once an agent becomes established in
a community, its virulence increases . This premise can be
applied to the COVID-19 pandemic. We surmise that “hot spots”
of the disease that initially spread around the world were perhaps
seeded by air travel, which in some areas were associated with 5G
implementation. However, once the disease became established in
those communities, it was able to spread more easily to neighboring
regions where populations were less exposed to WCR. Second
and third waves of the pandemic disseminated widely throughout
communities with and without WCR, as might be expected.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered us an opportunity to
delve further into the potential adverse effects of WCR exposure
on human health. Human exposure to ambient WCR significantly
increased in 2020 as a “side effect” to the pandemic. Stay-at-home
measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19
inadvertently resulted in greater public exposure to WCR, as
people conducted more business and school related activities
through wireless communications. Telemedicine created another
source of WCR exposure. Even hospital inpatients, particular
ICU patients, experienced increased WCR exposure as new
monitoring devices utilized wireless communication systems that
may exacerbate health disorders. It would potentially provide
valuable information to measure ambient WCR power densities in
home and work environments when comparing disease severity in
patient populations with similar risk factors.
The question of causation could be investigated in future
studies. For example, a clinical study could be conducted in
COVID-19 patient populations with similar risk factors, to
measure the WCR daily dose in COVID-19 patients and look
for a correlation with disease severity and progression over
time. As wireless device carrier frequencies and modulations
may differ, and the power densities of WCR fluctuate constantly
at a given location, this study would require patients to wear
personal microwave dosimeters (monitoring badges). In addition,
controlled laboratory studies could be conducted on animals, for
example, humanized mice infected with SARS-CoV-2, in which
groups of animals exposed to minimal WCR (control group)
as well as medium and high power densities of WCR could be
compared for disease severity and progression.
A major strength of this paper is that the evidence rests on
a large body of scientific literature reported by many scientists
worldwide and over several decades--experimental evidence of
adverse bioeffects of WCR exposure at nonthermal levels on
humans, animals, and cells. The Bioinitiative Report , updated
in 2020, summarizes hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers
documenting evidence of nonthermal effects from exposures
≤1 mW/cm2. Even so, some laboratory studies on the adverse health
effects of WCR have sometimes utilized power densities exceeding
1mW/cm2. In this paper, almost all of the studies that we reviewed
included experimental data at power densities ≤1 mW/cm2.
A potential criticism of this paper is that adverse bioeffects
from nonthermal exposures are not yet universally accepted in
science. Moreover, they are not yet considered in establishing
public health policy in many nations. Decades ago, Russians and
Eastern Europeans compiled considerable data on nonthermal
bioeffects, and subsequently set guidelines at lower radiofrequency
radiation exposure limits than the US and Canada, that is, below
levels where nonthermal effects are observed. However, the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC, a US government
entity) and ICNIRP guidelines operate on thermal limits based
on outdated data from decades ago, allowing the public to be
exposed to considerably higher radiofrequency radiation power
densities. Regarding 5G, the telecommunication industry claims
that it is safe because it complies with current radiofrequency
radiation exposure guidelines of the FCC and ICNIRP. These
guidelines were established in 1996 , are antiquated, and
are not safety standards. Thus, there are no universally accepted
safety standards for wireless communication radiation exposure.
Recently international bodies, such as the EMF Working Group
of the European Academy of Environmental Medicine, have
proposed much lower guidelines, taking into account nonthermal
bioeffects from WCR exposure in multiple sources .
Another weakness of this paper is that some of the bioeffects
from WCR exposure are inconsistently reported in the literature.
Replicated studies are often not true replications. Small differences
in method, including unreported details, such as prior history of
exposure of the organisms, non-uniform body exposure, and other
variables can lead to inadvertent inconsistency. Moreover, not
surprisingly, industry-sponsored studies tend to show less adverse
bioeffects than studies conducted by independent researchers,
suggesting industry bias . Some experimental studies that are
not industry-sponsored have also shown no evidence of harmful
effects of WCR exposure. It is noteworthy, however, that studies
employing real-life WCR exposures from commercially available
devices have shown high consistency in revealing adverse
WCR bioeffects depend on specific values of wave parameters
including frequency, power density, polarization, exposure duration,
modulation characteristics, as well as the cumulative history of
exposure and background levels of electromagnetic, electric and
magnetic fields. In laboratory studies, bioeffects observed also
depend on genetic parameters and physiological parameters such
as oxygen concentration . The reproducibility of bioeffects
of WCR exposure has sometimes been difficult due to failure to
report and/or control all of these parameters. Similar to ionizing
radiation, the bioeffects of WCR exposure can be subdivided into
deterministic, that is, dose-dependent effects and stochastic effects
that are seemingly random. Importantly, WCR bioeffects can also
involve “response windows” of specific parameters whereby
extremely low-level fields can have disproportionally detrimental
effects . This nonlinearity of WCR bioeffects can result in
biphasic responses such as immune suppression from one range
of parameters, and immune hyperactivation from another range
of parameters, leading to variations that may appear inconsistent.
In gathering reports and examining existing data for this
paper, we looked for outcomes providing evidence to support a
proposed connection between the bioeffects of WCR exposure and
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681 675
COVID-19. We did not make an attempt to weigh the evidence.
The radiofrequency radiation exposure literature is extensive
and currently contains over 30,000 research reports dating back
several decades. Inconsistencies in nomenclature, reporting of
details, and cataloging of keywords make it difficult to navigate
this enormous literature.
Another shortcoming of this paper is that we do not have access
to experimental data on 5G exposures. In fact, little is known
about population exposure from real-world WCR, which includes
exposure to WCR infrastructure and the plethora of WCR emitting
devices. In relation to this, it is difficult to accurately quantify
the average power density at a given location, which varies
greatly, depending on the time, specific location, time-averaging
interval, frequency, and modulation scheme. For a specific
municipality it depends on the antenna density, which network
protocols are used, as, for example, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi,
WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access),
DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications), and
RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging). There is also WCR
from ubiquitous radio wave transmitters, including antennas, base
stations, smart meters, mobile phones, routers, satellites, and other
wireless devices currently in use. All of these signals superimpose
to yield the total average power density at a given location that
typically fluctuates greatly over time. No experimental studies on
adverse health effects or safety issues of 5G have been reported,
and none are currently planned by the industry, although this is
Finally, there is an inherent complexity to WCR that makes
it very difficult to fully characterize wireless signals in the real
world that may be associated with adverse bioeffects. Real world
digital communication signals, even from single wireless devices,
have highly variable signals: variable power density, frequency,
modulation, phase, and other parameters changing constantly
and unpredictably each moment, as associated with the short,
rapid pulsations used in digital wireless communication .
For example, in using a mobile phone during a typical phone
conversation, the intensity of emitted radiation varies significantly
each moment depending on signal reception, number of
subscribers sharing the frequency band, location within the
wireless infrastructure, presence of objects and metallic surfaces,
and “speaking” versus “non-speaking” mode, among others.
Such variations may reach 100% of the average signal intensity.
The carrier radiofrequency constantly changes between different
values within the available frequency band. The greater the
amount of information (text, speech, internet, video, etc.), the
more complex the communication signals become. Therefore, we
cannot estimate accurately the values of these signal parameters
including ELF components or predict their variability over time.
Thus, studies on the bioeffects of WCR in the laboratory can only
be representative of real-world exposures .
This paper points to the need for further research on nonthermal
WCR exposure and its potential role in COVID-19. Moreover, some
of the WCR exposure bioeffects that we discuss here — oxidative
stress, inflammation, and immune system disruption — are
common to many chronic diseases, including autoimmune disease
and diabetes. Thus, we hypothesize that WCR exposure may also be
a potential contributing factor in many chronic diseases.
When a course of action raises threats of harm to human
health, precautionary measures should be taken, even if clear
causal relationships are not yet fully established. Therefore, we
must apply the Precautionary Principle  regarding wireless
5G. The authors urge policymakers to execute an immediate
worldwide moratorium on wireless 5G infrastructure until its
safety can be assured.
Several unresolved safety issues should be addressed before
wireless 5G is further implemented. Questions have been raised
about 60 GHz, a key 5G frequency planned for extensive use,
which is a resonant frequency of the oxygen molecule .
It is possible that adverse bioeffects might ensue from oxygen
absorption of 60 GHz. In addition, water shows broad absorption in
the GHz spectral region along with resonance peaks, for example,
strong absorption at 2.45 GHz that is used in 4G Wi-Fi routers.
This raises safety issues about GHz exposure of the biosphere,
since organisms are comprised of mostly water, and changes in
the structure of water due to GHz absorption have been reported
that affect organisms . Bioeffects from prolonged WCR
exposure of the whole body need to be investigated in animal
and human studies, and long-term exposure guidelines need to be
considered. Independent scientists in particular should conduct
concerted research to determine the biological effects of realworld
exposure to WCR frequencies with digital modulation from
the multiplicity of wireless communication devices. Testing could
also include real-life exposures to multiple toxins (chemical and
biological) , because multiple toxins may lead to synergistic
effects. Environmental impact assessments are also needed. Once
the long-term biological effects of wireless 5G are understood, we
can set clear safety standards of public exposure limits and design
an appropriate strategy for safe deployment.
There is a substantial overlap in pathobiology between COVID-19
and WCR exposure. The evidence presented here indicates that
mechanisms involved in the clinical progression of COVID-19
could also be generated, according to experimental data, by WCR
exposure. Therefore, we propose a link between adverse bioeffects
of WCR exposure from wireless devices and COVID-19.
Specifically, evidence presented here supports a premise that
WCR and, in particular, 5G, which involves densification of 4G,
may have exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic by weakening host
immunity and increasing SARS-CoV-2 virulence by (1) causing
morphologic changes in erythrocytes including echinocyte and
rouleaux formation that may be contributing to hypercoagulation;
(2) impairing microcirculation and reducing erythrocyte and
hemoglobin levels exacerbating hypoxia; (3) amplifying immune
dysfunction, including immunosuppression, autoimmunity, and
hyperinflammation; (4) increasing cellular oxidative stress and
the production of free radicals exacerbating vascular injury and
organ damage; (5) increasing intracellular Ca2+ essential for viral
entry, replication, and release, in addition to promoting pro676
Rubik and Brown | Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 2021; 7(5): 666-681
inflammatory pathways; and (6) worsening heart arrhythmias and
WCR exposure is a widespread, yet often neglected,
environmental stressor that can produce a wide range of adverse
bioeffects. For decades, independent research scientists worldwide
have emphasized the health risks and cumulative damage caused
by WCR [42,45]. The evidence presented here is consistent
with a large body of established research. Healthcare workers
and policymakers should consider WCR a potentially toxic
environmental stressor. Methods for reducing WCR exposure
should be provided to all patients and the general population.
The authors acknowledge small contributions to early versions
of this paper by Magda Havas and Lyn Patrick. We are grateful to
Susan Clarke for helpful discussions and suggested edits of early
drafts of the manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest in
preparing and publishing this manuscript. No competing financial
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