• COVID-19 can’t slow down 5G
  • This is the strangest 5G conspiracy theory I’ve ever heard…
  • A common misconception about American 5G technology

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our weekly mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge. This week, we’re going to do something slightly different.

On Wednesday, I hosted the State of 5G Summit. I wanted to share with readers what I’m seeing with the 5G wireless rollout and how COVID-19 is highlighting the need for 5G wireless technology.

More than 17,000 investors attended the event, and I received nearly 2,000 questions and comments from the summit attendees. Now, obviously, I can’t answer every one of these. But I wanted to use today’s mailbag edition of The Bleeding Edge to answer some of the most common questions I received.

But before we get to that, I also wanted to share some incredible new data around COVID-19…

Justin Silverman and Alex Washburne just published new research that uses one of the smartest, data-driven approaches to determining how widely COVID-19 has spread during the last several months.

What was so smart about their approach? They analyzed the number of “non-flu influenza-like illnesses” this winter season compared to the median between 2010 and 2019.

Put more simply, they calculated how many more people sought health care for an illness that wasn’t the flu but had all the symptoms of COVID-19. Here is an example of what they found:

In New Jersey, the second most affected state in the U.S., the non-flu illnesses spiked from the “normal” percent of visits to health care providers (around 2%) to around 16% of visits. And even in Oklahoma, which “officially” has only 1,684 cases, we see a very similar pattern.

So why the discrepancy? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were bottlenecks for testing from November through March. Most of these people had conditions that did not require hospitalization, and they were never tested for what they likely had… COVID-19.

And look at this:

The correlation in the above graph is remarkable. The vertical axis displays the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people (on a logarithmic scale). The horizontal axis represents the increase in the “non-flu influenza-like illnesses”.

Simply put, there is a direct relationship in the spikes of “non-flu influenza-like illnesses” and the confirmed cases of COVID-19. And the only reason for the difference is the lack of testing for COVID-19.

And here is why this is great news.

Just between March 8 and March 28 alone, it is highly likely that there were about 23 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. That’s how many more cases of non-flu influenza-like illnesses there were above the baseline for a normal season.

For perspective, at the time of the research, that was more than 200 times the number of confirmed cases… 200 times!

The research goes one step further to demonstrate that about seven million Americans were likely infected with COVID-19 during the week of March 8 to March 14. There were 7,000 deaths three weeks later (high-risk victims with COVID-19 tend to die in 20–25 days).

That is a fatality rate of 0.1%, on par with seasonal influenza. This is nowhere near the 2–4% fatality rates that others would have us believe.

And these numbers don’t even include the number of asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 who don’t seek any medical help. That means the real fatality rate is far lower.

This data supports my earlier projections that COVID-19 has already spread to more than 100 million Americans and that the fatality rate is lower than seasonal influenza.

Not surprisingly, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), part of the University of Washington in Seattle, is now projecting only 60,415 deaths. While every death from this virus is heartbreaking to see, this projection is lower than the 2017–2018 flu season. The projections now seem to drop by the day.

And somewhat ironically, in Seattle, one of the hardest-hit areas of the country, the decision was made to close the emergency field hospital, which had 250 beds housed inside of a Seattle convention center. Guess how many COVID-19 patients the field hospital cared for?

Zero. Not even one.

I wish everyone an enjoyable holiday weekend. I know that it won’t be a normal one, but I can promise more good news next week that we can all look forward to.

Now let’s turn to our mailbag…

5G is unstoppable…

Jeff, looking forward to your 5G summit. My question has to do with the coronavirus. Will COVID-19 slow down the implementation and production of 5G and 5G products? Thanks!

– C.F.

Thanks for your question. And thanks for attending the State of 5G Summit. This is a very common question. But as I’ve been showing in these pages, COVID-19 is acting as a catalyst for the 5G wireless rollout.

Consider this…

In just the past few weeks, the 4G wireless networks have seen, on average, anywhere between a 20% and a 50% increase in data traffic. The wireless networks are completely overloaded.

The wired networks – the backbone of the wireless networks and the internet – have seen spikes greater than 50%. These are the physical networks connecting data centers around the world with fiber-optic cables. They’re struggling to keep up with the excess demand.

Typically, data centers and internet service providers will plan for 50% growth of data traffic over 12–18 months. But that increase just took place in four weeks.

I’ve been testing these networks. And I’ve seen rapid declines in the speed that I can get over wired broadband networks… as well as wireless networks. There’s been an extraordinary drop in the quality of service.

It’s gotten so bad that the internet service providers have had to go to Netflix, Facebook, Zoom, Disney, and many others to ask them to reduce the quality of their video streaming services… Lower quality means using less bandwidth. They are asking them to help reduce the data traffic burden on the networks.

As a result, demand for IT products that go into data centers has increased during COVID-19. And the large-scale rollout of Phase 1 of 5G wireless infrastructure has continued on schedule.

More than ever before, it is considered an essential service/business. And we can understand now how vital 5G is to our communications infrastructure.

No, 5G did not cause COVID-19…

Hi, Jeff. What are your thoughts on the potential 5G health effects many people are concerned about? I understand it’s a controversial topic but is very important in my eyes. Thanks.

– M.L.

Another very common question. I was recently a guest on Glenn Beck’s radio show to discuss this very topic. As Glenn pointed out, the most recent conspiracy theory floating around social media is that 5G might be causing COVID-19. The idea is that 5G might be damaging our immune systems, and therefore people are becoming susceptible to COVID-19.

For readers who missed that interview, you can listen to it right here.

But I’ll tell you what I told Glenn and his listeners. This is crazy.

All wireless networks – including 5G wireless networks – emit what’s known as non-ionizing radiation. We have been exposed to this kind of radiation our entire lives. It’s all around us. And here’s the important point: Non-ionizing radiation does not damage our DNA or our cell tissue in any way. Not at all.

And yes, these 5G towers do operate at high power. But the FDA specifies what power level is safe for the human body. And the current regulations – that these 5G network operators must adhere to – have a 50-fold safety margin. In other words, there’s a tremendous amount of cushion.

These sorts of conspiracy theories always show up every time the world rolls out new technology. As Glenn pointed out, this sort of panic happened with radio technology, television broadcasting, and then early cell towers.

With every successive generation, there is some conspiracy theory telling people to panic. They last for 12–18 months, then they go away.

But they always seem to come back when a new generation of technology is being rolled out. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re having this same conversation around 6G when it’s rolled out about 10 years from now.

So to avoid confusion: 5G wireless technology does not affect the spread COVID-19 whatsoever. It does not damage our immune system. Nor did it cause the coronavirus mutation in Wuhan in the first place.

I’m glad you asked the question. Thanks.

Is America losing the 5G race?

Thanks for putting on the summit, Jeff. I hear South Korea is ahead of the U.S. in 5G. If so, that’s amazing. How is that possible?

Lee from Arizona

Hi, Lee. Thanks for joining me for the summit.

As for your question, South Korea did indeed launch the world’s first 5G network in April of last year. And it’s also true that there is wide-scale deployment of 5G networks, especially in Seoul, the nation’s capital.

South Korea understands the significance of 5G wireless technology. So it’s very smart that it is aggressively pursuing its rollout. After all, Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, and it wants to deploy 5G-enabled smartphones faster than anyone else.

And worth mentioning, deploying 5G networks in a geographically small country with dense populations is comparatively easy to do. That’s why countries like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore tend to deploy new technologies quickly.

But it takes years to deploy new communications infrastructure in a country the size of the U.S. or China… which is why the major metropolitan areas are always deployed first.

But I’d like to clear up a common misconception. There is an idea – often perpetuated by the mainstream press – that the United States is somehow lagging in 5G technology. The media typically suggests that the U.S. is “losing” the 5G arms race to China.

The argument goes something like this…

When most people imagine 5G networks, they think of 5G base stations, antennas, or miles of fiber-optic cables. In short, they picture the physical infrastructure that makes a 5G network operational.

And there are only three companies in the world that have end-to-end solutions for that sort of infrastructure: Ericsson, Nokia, and China’s Huawei.

But the United States doesn’t have an “American Huawei.” Therefore, the country is in danger of falling behind in the 5G race. That’s the typical argument we hear.

But the truth is that America leads the world in 5G technology. Here’s why…

If we were to get our hands on one of these 5G base stations or antennas, and we opened it up, we’d quickly discover that this infrastructure equipment is loaded with American technology and intellectual property.

That’s right. These base stations and antennas have thousands of dollars’ worth of American tech… mostly American semiconductors. These are the “brains” that make this 5G equipment work.

And look at the gross profit margins of companies that the mainstream media typically label “5G companies.”

  • Ericsson: 36.8%

  • Nokia: 39.3%

  • ZTE: 34.3%

Now look at some of the American companies that provide essential 5G components.

  • Qorvo: 42.4%

  • Qualcomm: 58.4%

  • Cisco: 64.7%

The American 5G component companies are way out ahead when it comes to gross margins. Which companies would you rather own? I think the answer is clear.

That’s all the questions I have time for today. And remember, if you missed The State of 5G Summit, you can watch a replay of the event right here.

And if you have a question for next week’s mailbag, you can submit it right here.


Jeff Brown
Editor, The Bleeding Edge

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