With COVID 19 continuing to spread across several nations throughout the globe, the internet has inevitably buzzed with debates, theories, shaming maneuvers, and shocking anecdotes.
During the current coronavirus global pandemic, celebrities find themselves in a unique position to influence public opinion on the matter.
A large internet following offers the ability to spread awareness of important considerations, particularly geared toward younger generations.
Or, as was the case with Keri Hilson, that platform can be used to spread dangerous disinformation.
On March 15, the singer-songwriter, known primarily for her hit song "Pretty Rock Girl", took to Twitter and dropped what she clearly felt was important information.
Hilson's tweets centered around the source of the Novel Coronavirus that has dominated headlines for months.
"People have been trying to warn us about 5G for YEARS. Petitions, organizations, studies…what we're going thru is the affects of radiation."
"5G launched in CHINA. Nov 1, 2019. People dropped dead. See attached & go to my IG stories for more. TURN OFF 5G by disabling LTE!!!"
She continued, putting things in more direct relation to the virus.
"And to be clear, I'm saying there have been lots of studies & experiments that point to the possibility that the dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation (5G) could be CAUSING the contagious virus."
"Why do you think the virus is not happening in Africa like that? Not a 5G region. There may be a few bases there, but not as prevalent as other countries. It has nothing to do w/ melanin (for those theories)…"
Hilson's tweets have since been deleted after her management team asked the singer to pull them, as well as the aforementioned Instagram stories.
In response, Dr. Stephanie Miles-Richardson, the Associate Dean of graduate education in public health at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, told Huffington Post how off-base Hilson's claim was, saying:
"This is not a conspiracy, it's not a phone."
"Coronavirus is an I-Class virus. There are many and this is an emerging one. So we're learning about it, and it's not the first time we've had one emerge, so I think that folks are trying to make up reasons for this to fall out the sky."
"But the fact of the matter is the last two coronaviruses that we were concerned about emerged similarly ... SARS and MERS. This is yet another."
As mentioned, replies to Hilson's now-deleted original tweets are difficult to come by.
Of course, the post and its content blew up far before it was deleted, and plenty are still slamming her claims.
A conspiracy theory like this flies directly in the face of the scientific reality. We should all listen to the medical professionals who are pleading with us to stay distant from one another and opt to connect remotely. And do not listen to Keri Hilson.