Right-Wing Media Deny Oil Companies' Tax Breaks Are Subsidies
Echoing talking points from the American Petroleum Institute (API), right-wing media are denying that the tax incentives oil companies receive are a subsidy. However, experts say that such incentives—legally categorized as tax expenditures—have effects similar to more direct cash transfers from the government, and tax expenditures make up a major part of the government's energy policy.
Tax Incentives For Oil Companies Are Legally Categorized As Tax Expenditures
Joint Committee On Taxation Lists Oil Industry-Specific Tax Incentives As Tax Expenditures. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation notes that tax expenditures are defined by law as "revenue losses attributable to provisions of the Federal tax laws which allow a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or which provide a special credit, a preferential rate of tax, or a deferral of tax liability." The Committee lists several tax expenditures specific to the oil and gas industry, such as incentives for pipelines, refineries, oil exploration and oil recovery. [Joint Committee on Taxation, 12/15/10]
Experts Say Tax Expenditures Have Effects Similar To More Direct Subsidies
Tax Policy Center: Tax Breaks "Operate Essentially Like Direct Expenditures" From The Government. From a Tax Policy Center explanation of tax expenditures:
Tax expenditures operate essentially like direct expenditures, even though they appear as tax breaks. They benefit hundreds of different types of activities and individuals and currently account for one-fourth to one-third of all benefits and subsidies granted to the public. [Tax Policy Center, 7/17/09]
Pew Charitable Trusts: Energy Tax Break Effects Are "Similar To Grants Or Other Types Of Subsidies." From the Pew Charitable Trusts' SubsidyScope.org:
Tax expenditures have a similar effect on the federal deficit as government spending. They can also have effects on recipients that are similar to grants or other types of subsidies. For instance, if the government wants to encourage people to buy solar panels for their homes, it could send checks to those who bought panels or offer tax breaks after the panels have been purchased. [SubsidyScope.org, accessed 4/3/12]
Center For American Progress: "A Tax Expenditure Is A Government Spending Program That Delivers Subsidies Through The Tax Code." From the Center for American Progress' April 2010 report America's Hidden Power Bill: Examining Federal Energy Tax Expenditures:
To reiterate, a tax expenditure is a government spending program that delivers subsidies through the tax code via special tax credits, deductions, exclusions, exemptions, and preferential rates. This reduction in taxes is the amount of the subsidy provided to that individual or company. In the energy sector, this means specific companies receive credits for investing in renewable energy, deductions related to oil exploration, and credits for production of alternative transportation fuels, among other benefits. [Center for American Progress, April 2010]
Grist's David Roberts: Tax Expenditures Are "Entirely Equivalent" To Direct Spending. Grist.org staff writer David Roberts explained how tax incentives and more direct spending are "entirely equivalent in term of both the federal budget and the economic incentive to oil companies":
Compare the following two simplified scenarios.
A. An oil company pays $1 million a year in taxes. Congress gives it a yearly cash grant of $200,000 to explore for new wells.
B. An oil company pays $1 million a year in taxes. Congress gives it a yearly tax break of $200,000 for exploration expenses.
As you can see, A and B are equivalent. In both cases, the federal government was going to get $1 million a year, but instead will get $800,000. In both cases, the federal government is foregoing $200,000 in revenue in order to favor a particular business or industry.
The first is a simple case of government spending. The second is what's called a "tax expenditure," i.e., government spending that takes place through the tax code. [Grist.org, 9/23/11]
But Right-Wing Media Follow Big Oil Talking Points And Deny That Oil Companies' Tax Breaks Are Subsidies
American Petroleum Institute: Oil Industry "Receives Not One Subsidy," Just Tax Breaks. From American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard's prepared statements for a press briefing about energy policy:
We continue to hear about the need to eliminate "subsidies" for the industry. The industry receives not ONE subsidy, and it is one of the largest contributors of revenue to our government of any industry in America. The oil and natural gas industry doesn't get the guaranteed loans made famous by the Solyndra affair, for example. It takes tax deductions the same or similar to what all other American companies get to recover their costs of doing business. [American Petroleum Institute, 2/23/12]
Fox's Eric Bolling: Obama Is "Completely Off Base" For Calling Oil Company Tax Breaks Subsidies. From the Fox Business show Cavuto:
Bolling: So President Obama—first of all, he calls the tax credits to the oil company subsidies. This is completely off base. Not one dollar of taxpayer money comes from the government and Congress and is sent to the oil companies. He said that today on the podium, President Obama did. He said "we're sending—Congress has decided to send billions more dollars to the oil companies."
We're not doing that. We're allowing them to keep more of their profits. Profit is a good thing. Profit is capitalism. Profit creates jobs, creates incentives for the oil companies to hire more people, to buy more equipment and guess what, to drill more money. So let them keep their $3 or $4 billion. [Fox Business, Cavuto, 3/29/12]
Fox's Stuart Varney: Obama "Is Confusing Everybody With His Use Of The Word 'Subsidy.'" From Fox & Friends:
Varney: Since when do we have taxpayer giveaways to the oil companies? Show me the check, Mr. President. Show me the check. All companies in America, when they invest in equipment, get a tax break on that investment, the oil companies included. The president says that is a subsidy; it is not. It is not a payment of money from the Treasury to an oil company.
I mean, do you get a payment from the Treasury when you have a break on your mortgage, on your interest? Of course you don't. He is confusing everybody with his use of the word "subsidy." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/30/12]
Limbaugh: It's A "Blatant Lie" That Oil Company Tax Breaks Are Subsidies. From Rush Limbaugh's radio show:
Limbaugh: By the way, they don't get subsidized. Folks, this is another blatant lie. It is a blatant lie about tax subsidies. Big Oil does not get subsidized. They have tax breaks like many other industries do, just like you have a home mortgage interest deduction. And the tax breaks they have are to incentivize their production and exploration for oil. Their tax breaks are not to cause you to pay higher gas prices, their tax breaks are there to facilitate more supply and thus cheaper prices. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/29/12]
Fox's Shannon Bream: "There Is A Difference" Between Oil Company Tax Breaks And Subsidies. From Fox News' Special Report:
Bream (guest host): And to be clear, the vote in the Senate today was about a bill from Senator Menendez and it would have cut tax breaks, which the White House refers to as subsidies. But really, there is a difference, Juan.
Juan Williams (Fox News contributor): There is a difference. But you know, the tax breaks are meant to incentivize oil production. And the oil companies make this point and that they need these and say that prices would go up without these incentives. Nonetheless, the money comes out of my pocket, your pocket, the American taxpayers' money, and that's why the White House calls them subsidies.
Bream: But is it coming out of the oil companies' pockets? I mean, it's less money that they're paying in to the tax base.
Williams: Correct. Well, it's a deduction, a loophole, however you want to describe it. [Fox News, Special Report, 3/29/12]
Tax Incentives Make Up Much Of The Government's Energy Policy
Energy Information Administration: For Decades, The Tax Code Has Been Used To Support Energy Policies. From the Energy Information Administration's report Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010:
For several decades, policies in the federal budget affecting energy production have largely been exercised through the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code or IRC). Recently, in order to inject funds more quickly into a weak economy, ARRA made more prominent use of direct spending. This was done with the intention of providing capital to investors with little or no taxable income to offset during the financial crisis. [Energy Information Administration, July 2011]
Pew Charitable Trusts: Federal Government "Heavily Relies On The Tax Code" For Energy Policies. From the Pew Charitable Trusts' SubsidyScope.org:
The federal government heavily relies on the tax code to implement policy in the energy sector. In fiscal year 2009, the estimated revenue loss in the sector from tax expenditures totaled nearly $6.3 billion. Tax expenditures are government revenue losses resulting from provisions in the tax code that allow a taxpayer or business to reduce their tax burden by taking certain deductions, exemptions, exclusions, preferential rates, deferrals or credits. [SubsidyScope.org, accessed 4/3/12]
And The Oil And Gas Industry Receives Several Types Of Tax Incentives
Energy Information Administration: Oil And Gas Tax Expenditures Increased During 2007 - 2010 Period. The Energy Information Administration has identified nine tax expenditures used by oil and gas companies, which increased in cost from $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2007 to $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2010:
[Energy Information Administration, July 2011]
Congressional Research Service: "There Are A Number Of Tax Incentives" For Oil Companies. From the Congressional Research Service's April 2011 report on energy tax policy:
There are a number of tax incentives currently available for energy production using fossil fuels. They can be broadly categorized as either enhancing capital cost recovery or subsidizing extraction of high-cost fossil fuels. Between 2010 and 2014, the total cost of tax expenditures related to fossil fuels is estimated to be $12.2 billion. [Congressional Research Service, 4/14/11]
NY Times: "Oil Production Is Among The Most Heavily Subsidized Businesses." The New York Times reported in July 2010 that "an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process." [The New York Times, 7/3/10]
Taxpayers For Common Sense: Industry Will "Receive More Than $78 Billion" In Subsidies In The Next 5 Years. A report from the fiscal watchdog organization Taxpayers For Common Sense estimated that oil and gas companies will receive "more than $78 billion" in subsidies, including $55 billion in industry specific subsidies:
During World War I, U.S. taxpayers provided the oil and gas industry with its first federal tax break. Over the decades, more lucrative tax breaks have been added. The latest major installment came with the passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which included another $2.6 billion in subsidies for oil & gas companies. But it hasn't stopped there. As recently as December of 2011, oil and gas companies received more subsidies. Each year the oil and gas industry takes advantage of tax breaks and other subsidies worth billions of dollars. In all, oil and gas companies are expected to receive more than $78 billion in industry specific and general business subsidies over the next five years. [Taxpayers For Common Sense, May 2011, emphasis in original]
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A new report shows the U.S. government bought more than $350 million in bonds issued by oil and gas companies and induced investors to loan the industry tens of billions more at artificially low rates since the coronavirus pandemic began, Bloomberg reported.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Karen Charman
When President Donald Trump visited California on September 14 and dismissed the state Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot's plea to recognize the role of climate change in the midst of the Golden State's worst and most dangerous recorded fire season to date, he gaslighted the tens of millions of West Coast residents suffering through the ordeal.
Foxes Guarding the Henhouse<p>Before he assumed power, Trump attacked regulations as unnecessary barriers to freedom and economic prosperity. Since taking office, he has targeted anything enacted by the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and taken steps to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement, the international effort to combat climate change. He has also staffed heads of key agencies with climate deniers of various stripes, forced out career public servants and created a hostile work environment for those who don't profess loyalty to his deregulatory agenda.</p><p>Like Trump himself, some of his cabinet choices displayed an audacious penchant for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/27/us/donald-trump-taxes.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage" target="_blank">self-dealing</a> and abusing their positions of authority. One example is Trump's first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Scott Pruitt, who aggressively worked to overturn Obama's climate regulations, spent most of his time in <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/trump-epa-head-steps-down-after-wave-of-ethics-management-scandals/2018/07/05/39f4251a-6813-11e8-bea7-c8eb28bc52b1_story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">private meetings</a> with fossil fuel and chemical company executives, sidelined career EPA staff and reconfigured independent scientific advisory boards to make them more supportive of the industries EPA is charged with regulating. Dubbed "<a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-pruitt-leaves-20180705-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one of the most scandal-plagued Cabinet officials in U.S. history</a>," Pruitt resigned in disgrace after revelations about his multiple brazen abuses, including using the agency as his personal concierge service and piggy bank.</p><p>Pruitt's deputy, Andrew Wheeler, a <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/andrew-wheeler-acting-epa-administrator-former-number-two-before-scott-pruitt-resignation/" target="_blank">former coal industry lobbyist</a> and longtime Republican Washington insider, took over and has continued Trump's deregulatory agenda apace.</p><p>At the Department of Interior (DOI), a sprawling agency that oversees 75 percent of the country's public federal lands and includes the U.S. Geological Survey, which is tasked with evaluating natural hazards that threaten life and the health of our ecosystems, Trump installed another flamboyant anti-environmentalist to head the agency. Like Pruitt, Trump's first Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke aggressively attacked environmental regulations, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/05/07/epa-dismisses-half-of-its-scientific-advisers-on-key-board-citing-clean-break-with-obama-administration/" target="_blank">ditched more than 200 advisory panels</a>, and pushed to open up vast swaths of public land to oil and gas drilling. Described by one environmental group as "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/interior-secretary-zinke-resigns-amid-investigations/2018/12/15/481f9104-0077-11e9-ad40-cdfd0e0dd65a_story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the most anti-conservation Interior secretary in our nation's history</a>," Zinke was forced out after numerous highly publicized conflict-of-interest scandals.</p><p>The DOI is now run by Zinke's deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, another longtime Republican Washington insider and former oil industry lobbyist who has also been the subject of <a href="https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/05/this-is-still-happening-david-bernhardt-trump-lincoln.html" target="_blank">several government ethics complaints</a> for various violations favoring polluting industries.</p><p>More recently, longtime climate change denier David Legates, a climatologist at the University of Delaware previously <a href="https://insideclimatenews.org/news/19032015/u-delaware-refuses-disclose-funding-sources-its-climate-contrarian" target="_blank">funded by fossil fuel interests</a>, was hired for a <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/09/12/912301325/longtime-climate-science-denier-hired-at-noaa" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">top job</a> advancing weather modeling and prediction at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Legates has called for <a href="https://www.democracynow.org/2020/9/18/noaa_david_legates_climate_crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increasing carbon emissions</a>.</p><p>The Trump administration has done much more than stack government agencies with fossil fuel industry proponents. It has removed or diluted discussion of climate change from as many government platforms as it can and decimated independent scientific advisory boards that provide unbiased, fact-based information the government needs to enact policies that protect the public. It has also <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/482352-trump-budget-slashes-funding-for-epa-environmental-programs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">slashed environmental agency staffing and budgets</a>.</p>
The Damage So Far<p>A September 17 <a href="https://rhg.com/research/the-rollback-of-us-climate-policy/" target="_blank">report</a> by the Rhodium Group calculates that 1.8 billion tons more greenhouse gases will be released over the next 15 years as a result of climate change rollbacks the Trump administration has achieved so far. These include repealing Obama's main climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, which was intended to reduce dirty emissions from power plants; increasing pollution from cars by rolling back fuel economy standards and challenging California's longtime authority to set stricter emissions standards; targeting controls on hydrofluorocarbons, powerful greenhouse gases used mainly in refrigerators and air conditioners that also destroy the Earth's protective ozone layer; and allowing unreported and unregulated emissions of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, by oil and gas companies.</p><p>Besides these measures, Trump is also trying to gut core environmental statutes like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, all of which were enacted to protect human health and preserve a livable world.</p><p>The Paris agreement aims to keep the rise in average global temperatures at less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and hopefully cap it at 1.5 degrees C or lower. We are now at approximately 1.2 degrees C and counting.</p>
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By Jan Ellen Spiegel
It wasn't so long ago that the issue of climate change was poised to play a huge – possibly even a decisive – role in the 2020 election, especially in the race for control of the U.S. Senate. Many people supporting Democratic candidates saw a possible Democratic majority as a hedge against a potential Trump re-election … a way to plug the firehose spray of more than 100 environmental regulation rollbacks and new anti-climate initiatives by the administration over its first term.
Potential Climate Voters<p>In a September 1 memo on climate and the election, Andrew Baumann, vice president of the consultants Global Strategy Group, wrote: "Few issues have seen as dramatic a shift in public opinion as climate change has over the last few years. Only marriage equality and the recent shift in views around racial justice outpace the rapid growth in the salience of climate change as an issue."</p><p>Calling it a "winning political issue" the memo says: "First, it is clearly a motivator for both younger and Latinx voters. Second, it has the power to move swing voters, particularly center-right white women."</p><p>Baumann points to a finding that when a group of such women were asked generic ballot questions, Democrats trailed by nine percentage points. But when the question was revised as a choice between:</p><p>"A Democrat who supports taking strong government action to combat climate change.<br>A Republican who opposes taking strong government action to combat climate change."</p><p>… the result was a 29 percentage point shift, putting Democrats ahead by 20 percentage points among that same group.</p><p>"I think it is playing a role," says Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, a longtime outspoken climate activist who is on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and also on the Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. If Democrats win back the Senate, he stands to play an even more pivotal climate role as part of the majority. He is not up for re-election this year.</p><p><span></span>"I think from the Democratic side it's playing a role in generating enthusiasm – particularly making younger voters feel that they have a real stake in this election. On the Republican side, I think things have moved enough that candidates can no longer get away with simply scoffing about climate change."</p>
Climate a Top Concern for Youths, Latinx<p>So who's still thinking climate? Mostly young voters – 18 to 25 or 29 and Latinx voters.</p><p>Climate and the environment are the top concern among young voters, just above racism and healthcare according to <a href="https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/poll-young-people-believe-they-can-lead-change-unprecedented-election-cycle" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CIRCLE</a>, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, which focuses on the political life of young people in the U.S. For Latinx youth, it drops a bit but remains in the top three.</p><p>The issues young people care about have an impact on how they volunteer their time, says Kristian Lundberg, an associate researcher at CIRCLE. He says that's played out most notably through the Sunrise Movement, which focuses on climate change and the environment along with other key activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives.</p><p>He points to polling this summer that showed that 83% of 18-to-29-year-olds felt they had the power to change things. "Young people feel much more empowerment than in 2016 and 2018," Lundberg says. "It's intentional these movements are carving out space for young people. It's an important strategy."</p><p>In positions of power in these organizations, young people have developed peer-to-peer outreach on activism. And Lundberg says young people have made the leap that connects activism to voting as a lever for change. "In the past in very close races, young people breaking heavily have provided the margin of victory," he says.</p><p>CIRCLE is highlighting 10 U.S. Senate races as ones in which young voters can be decisive. Several of them have notable climate or environmental components – most prominently the Colorado and Montana races.</p><p>The Republican incumbents in each state – Cory Gardner in Colorado and Steve Daines in Montana – are running against a popular Democratic governor – John Hickenlooper in Colorado, now out of office — and Steve Bullock, still the governor of Montana. Both governors have had to balance their state's fossil fuel economic interests with supporting climate change solutions.</p>
Tying Climate Change to the Economy<p>In August, Data for Progress, a progressive research think tank, released polling on climate change – including in the battleground Senate elections in Arizona, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina – showing voters back a Senate candidate supporting strong climate action.</p><blockquote>Climate change as 'mobilizing issue … key persuasion issue.'<br></blockquote><p>It also showed that linking climate change to the economy may be key. That means talking about clean energy and jobs together, says Danielle Deiseroth, climate data analyst for <a href="https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/poll-young-people-believe-they-can-lead-change-unprecedented-election-cycle" target="_blank">Data for Progress</a>. She says that in addition to jobs, climate change issues include climate justice and economic equality – both of heightened interest because of fallout from western wildfires.</p><p>"Climate change, we've observed over the last year or so, is a key mobilizing issue and a key persuasion issue," she says. "Climate issues can only grow support for Democratic candidates.</p><p>"I think it's pretty naive to say climate is the key issue for voters. For a lot of voters it really exemplifies so many things that are wrong with the Trump presidency," Deiseroth says.</p><p>So a factor among others. Helpful, but pivotal only in narrow circumstances.</p><p>At the League of Conservations Voters, a progressive environmentalist organization putting a lot of money and effort into the 2020 races, Senior Director of Political Affairs Craig Auster says: "I'll push back that climate change doesn't matter or isn't registering."</p><p>"It's still showing up in several Senate races. It's been playing a role in almost all of them."</p><p>Candidates are still talking about it, he says, pointing to Colorado, Montana, Iowa, and other states where ads are addressing climate and environmental issues. That shows the candidates believe their opponent is vulnerable on the issue or they're strong on it, he says.</p><p>Like others, Auster calls climate a motivator.</p><p>"Climate change matters," he says. "We have proof point after proof point about what's happening, whether it's a hurricane, a superstorm, derechos in Iowa, or wildfires out west.</p><p>"Pre-COVID it was top tier for Democratic voters along with healthcare. If COVID didn't happen I think climate would be a big deal."</p>
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Two lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday addressing previous actions the U.S. government inflicted upon Native Americans.
The bill, authored by Rep. Deb Haaland from New Mexico and Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, specifically addresses the "intergenerational trauma" caused by policies that tore Native American children away from their families and sent them to boarding schools to be educated in white culture, HuffPost reported.
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By Gudrun Heise
Just as scientists are scoring successes in coronavirus research, new problems are on their way. Fall is with us and winter is around the corner, so the season for colds and flu has begun — joining COVID-19.
Influenza Vaccination<p>A flu vaccination may thus be able to narrow down the diagnostic options when flu-like symptoms occur, but whether such a vaccination also has an influence on the behavior of the dangerous new virus is — like so much else — not clear. "It is conceivable that there is an indirect effect. But it is, I believe, a matter of speculation whether it has an immunological effect in the narrower sense," says Krause.</p><p>Every winter, doctors' waiting rooms are full of people who are coughing and sniffing but who mostly turn out to have only a severe respiratory infection. According to current knowledge, the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is also likely to be subject to seasonal fluctuations. </p><p>In winter, cold viruses, at least, flourish because cold and dry air offers ideal conditions for their spread. In addition, it becomes more difficult to air rooms regularly and intensively — an important further measure to counteract the coronavirus and contain to some extent the danger posed by aerosols.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.rki.de/DE/Home/homepage_node.html" target="_blank">Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health agency</a>, between 5% and 20% of people in Germany become infected with flu viruses every year. These viruses are also dangerous and can be fatal. The flu vaccination must be adapted to the influenza viruses every year, because they mutate. But at least there is a vaccination.</p><p>Most experts agree that there is unlikely to be a vaccine against the coronavirus by the time the next wave of influenza comes around. And even if a vaccine were to be approved, many unknowns remain.</p>
COVID-19 and Flu Simultaneously<p>For example, there is a lack of practical experience in dealing simultaneously with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. It is possible to speculate that having influenza could facilitate the entry of the coronavirus into the human body. "The general weakening of the immune system during an influenza infection could increase the susceptibility of a patient to a SARS-CoV-2 infection," Krause says.</p><p>However, it is uncertain how dangerous this double infection could ultimately be and what can be done about it. Krause is of the opinion that we must arm ourselves against all three diseases — colds, flu and COVID-19. If we have a cold, bed rest, hot tea and cough medicine usually help. We can get vaccinated against flu. But how do we deal with COVID-19?</p><p><span></span>Probably people can only hope that if they get the illness, they will have a mild form with as few after-effects as possible. Here, it will certainly help to stick to suggested rules on hygiene to reduce or prevent our exposure to the virus. In an interview with DW, Bonn-based virology professor Hendrik Streeck made it clear that COVID-19 usually takes a more severe course when there is a high viral load at infection.</p>
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene<p>The same hygiene measures with which we are trying to get at least some kind of grip on COVID-19 also apply to influenza. The less we come into contact with viruses, the greater the chance that we will be spared an infection or that it will be mild.</p><p>These measures include general hygiene precautions such as frequent hand washing and the wearing of protective face masks. "The various hygienic measures against COVID-19 will also reduce the spread of influenza," says Krause. "Possibly, further connections of a more immunological nature will be discovered."</p><p>Let us hope that is the case, because the flu season hasn't even started.</p>
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