Super Bowl 55, coronavirus pandemic, Biden talks to CBS: 5 things to know this weekend

Super Bowl 55: Chiefs, Buccaneers battle for NFL championship

The 2020 NFL season comes to a close Sunday with the league’s marquee event: Super Bowl 55 (CBS, 6:30 p.m. ET). Patrick Mahomes and the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Chiefs are looking to become the first team to repeat as champs since Brady and the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Mahomes is the new face of the NFL and can add to his budding legacy with a second title. Brady already has the most Super Bowl championships of any player in NFL history and will look to extend his record to seven titles. This year’s clash will certainly look different — the attendance will be capped at roughly 25,000, including the 7,500 vaccinated front-line healthcare workers who were given tickets as invited guests of the league, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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USA TODAY’s Ad Meter: It’s time to rate the commercials!

While Sunday’s NFL clash could be one for the ages, advertisers will spend the game’s commercial breaks going head-to-head in a competition for your dollars. The cost of a 30-second spot during the big game ranges from $5.5 million to $5.6 million. With the stakes so high, some brands are looking to make an impression on the national audience well before people start making trips to the refrigerator during breaks in the action. The early releases are always a fun treat for USA TODAY Ad Meter, a perfect way to get into that Super Bowl Commercial mindset before the ratings go live next Wednesday. Register now to become a panelist and you’ll be automatically entered to win tickets to the big game in 2022.

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Coronavirus pandemic: Experts warn public to avoid Super Bowl parties

Federal health officials, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warn against attending Super Bowl parties this weekend to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has infected more than 26 million Americans and has killed more than 459,000 as of early Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Despite the grim numbers, a quarter of respondents to a Seton Hall Sports Poll said they plan to gather with members outside of their household — defined as those who aren’t roommates or cohabitants — to watch Super Bowl 55.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourage gatherings, but advise that strict precautions should be observed if people decide to have them. Among the considerations? Hosting the event outdoors, social distancing and minimal physical contact while in the presence of others, added hygiene and mask-wearing.

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CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell interviews Biden before Super Bowl

Viewers tuning to CBS to see the Super Bowl on Sunday can catch a pre-taped interview with President Joe Biden before the game. The network on Friday aired portions of his interview with Norah O’Donnell. In those snippets, Biden said that former President Donald Trump should no longer get classified intelligence briefings, which former presidents can customarily access, because of his “erratic behavior.”Separately, Biden conceded that a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is unlikely to remain in the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package that he is asking Congress to approve. The interview is scheduled to air in the 4 p.m. ET hour.

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More protests expected in Russia over jailing of opposition leader

Russia expelled diplomats from Sweden, Poland and Germany, accusing them of attending a rally in support Alexei Navalny, whose detention has sparked massive demonstrations across Russia, who was sent to prison for the crime of daring to survive President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to poison him. Analysts say the demonstrations, which are likely to carry over this weekend, represent a burgeoning protest movement that is growing exponentially and is spurred on by myriad issues coming to a head including increased economic hardship, frustration with the coronavirus pandemic, and the shocking scale of graft that for decades has been perpetrated by Putin and Russia’s political elite. For several weeks, tens of thousands of Russians have taken to the streets — and ice, one demonstration was held on a frozen lake in Kazan in southwest at -45 degrees Fahrenheit — across the country to demand Navalny’s release.

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Contributing: The Associated Press

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