FACT CHECK: Were Thousands Of Birds Killed By Coronavirus Or 5G Networks In Italy?

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Brad Sylvester Fact Check Editor
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A post shared on Facebook claims thousands of birds in Italy died from either coronavirus or 5G networks.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence the birds were killed by coronavirus or 5G technology. The Italian wildlife recovery center that examined the dead birds said they died from traumatic injuries sustained when the tree they nested in fell during a storm.

Fact Check:

The photos show hundreds of dead birds lying on the street in Italy, with the Facebook caption claiming they died “because of fucking corona viruse [sic] or fucking corporate 5g network.”

As of press time, the new coronavirus has sickened over 2.68 million people in 184 countries and regions, including some 189,900 cases in Italy, per the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Online conspiracy theories link the spread of the virus to the proliferation of 5G networks, but the World Health Organization, Check Your Fact and others have thoroughly debunked the notion.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 or 5G technology killed the pictured birds. The photos come from the Italian news website Roma Today’s Feb. 4 article describing how strong winds in Rome downed a tree the night before, injuring one person and killing a group of birds that made their nests in it. (RELATED: Do Wind Turbines Kill 750K Birds A Year?)

CRFS Lipu Roma, an Italian wildlife recovery center, later examined some of the dead birds and found that they had died from traumatic injuries. None of the dead birds that CRFS Lipu Roma examined showed signs of intoxication or poisoning, and the live birds that they treated were healthy apart from injuries, according to the wildlife recovery center’s Facebook post.

“Many people ask us what could have happened and the most likely hypothesis is that the wind, very strong, which was already swaying the branches of the tree, made the hundreds of sleeping animals laid on it lose their sense of direction and probably they didn’t sense they were falling along with the tree,” reads a rough translation of the post. “If we also consider that it was dark and the animals were still sleeping it’s normal that they were caught off guard by such an unexpected event.”

Because CRFS Lipu Roma found that the birds actually died from traumatic injuries, and no evidence could be found to support the claim that the birds were killed by coronavirus or 5G technology, we rate this claim as false.

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