Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

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Editors, USA TODAY
·4 min read
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One nation, under extraordinary security, quiet

All was calm in the nation's capital on Sunday as barricades decorated the National Mall and troops stood guard downtown. The lack of people and heightened protection is an eerie contrast to the usual hustle of Washington, D.C. — now three days out from President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration — and a tumultuous bookend to Donald Trump's presidency. Across the country, state capitols were on high alert after federal officials warned of armed and potentially violent protests. An internal FBI bulletin issued to law enforcement partners cautioned that demonstrations could begin as soon as Sunday and are expected to continue through the inauguration. Ohio was among the states to experience demonstrations on Sunday, where a group of more than 50 protesters, some carrying assault weapons and other firearms, gathered at the state Capitol. Many statehouses, however, were absent of demonstrations.

Members of Virginia National Guard walk by the U.S. Capitol on Jan 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President.
Members of Virginia National Guard walk by the U.S. Capitol on Jan 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and in all 50 states. According to reports, as many as 25,000 National Guard soldiers will be guarding the city as preparations are made for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President.

As US nears 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, experts blame Trump for loss of life

The United States will soon cross another somber threshold in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic: 400,000 deaths. The current COVID-19 death toll is about 397,000. The pace of new infections has accelerated at a stunning rate in the past 2½ months, along with the number of fatalities. It is projected that there will be a reported 405,000 deaths by Wednesday’s inauguration day – the one-year anniversary of the first reported COVID-19 case in the U.S. Many public health experts and historians blame the Trump administration for the extent of the devastation. Not since Woodrow Wilson was in office during the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed about 675,000 in this country and 50 million worldwide, had a president overseen the loss of so many American lives.

  • Where did COVID-19 come from? Questions remain about the origin of the coronavirus that causes the disease. The answers matter.

Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a COVID-19 victim to his van from the hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Md. on Dec. 24, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maryland Cremation Services transporter Reggie Elliott brings the remains of a COVID-19 victim to his van from the hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Md. on Dec. 24, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Real quick

Reversing Trump policies a priority in Biden's first days in office

President-elect Joe Biden will sign more than a dozen executive orders on his first day in office, reversing key Trump Administration policies. Biden’s transition team announced Saturday that his actions will include rejoining the Paris Agreement, reversing the travel ban for Muslim-majority countries and enacting orders that address the COVID-19 pandemic, including his "100 Day Masking Challenge," which includes a mask mandate on federal property and inter-state travel. Between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, Biden will address equity and support in communities of color and underserved communities as well as criminal justice system reforms. The president-elect also plans to sign more executive orders addressing the climate crisis, in addition to taking his first steps to expand access to health care.

NFL playoffs: Green Bay, Buffalo head to conference championships

A stellar season for Aaron Rodgers continues, as the Green Bay quarterback punched the Packers’ ticket to the NFC championship game, where he’ll take on one of two fellow legends – Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady or New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who face off Sunday evening. Rodgers threw for 296 yards and scored three total touchdowns in Saturday’s 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams and their No. 1 defense. The Buffalo Bills clinched their first appearance in the AFC championship game since 1994 with a 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The signature play of the game was Bills defender Taron Johnson’s 101-yard interception return for a touchdown that put Buffalo up by 14 points at the end of the third quarter. The Bills await the winner of a Sunday afternoon game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns.

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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: State capitol protests, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, COVID-19: It's the weekend's biggest news