The COVID-19 pandemic has been having a devastating effect on the world for over half a year, with some countries, like the US, in a much worse state than others. Much of the world has been living in lockdown and many industries have come to a stand still as per government orders aimed to slow the spread of the virus. Despite these factors, the rollout of 5G cellular network infrastructure, which started in late 2018, has been continuing at a steady pace.

Overshadowed by the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of cell towers erected as part of the 5G rollout has been increasing very quickly. From roughly 900 5G deployments worldwide in late 2019, this number has increased tenfold to over 9,000 5G deployments, all within the span of little over half a year. These figures include regular cell towers as well as so called “small cell” 5G deployments. These small cells have a shorter working range and serve to transmit a 5G signal in smaller, hard to reach locations, such as building interiors. Even with no tall cell towers on the horizon you may still be exposed to 5G by small cells located inside of buildings.

Why is it that the 5G rollout has continued uninterrupted amid this worldwide pandemic? This may be attributed to a ruling made by the FCC in 2018. This ruling took much of the control over the approval process of installing 5G towers away from municipal governing bodies. In fact, this FCC ruling also stated that health concerns could not be used as a reason to halt the construction of 5G infrastructure. This decision came despite numerous health experts worldwide calling for a pause of the 5G rollout due to insufficiently explored health effects it may have. Protecting the public health against the negative effects of 5G has been placed not in the hands of the government, but in the hands of the people.