How to watch the last presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump

WASHINGTON – The first debate was combative. The second debate was cancelled. Now, the final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is finally here. 

The presidential debate Thursday will be hosted in Nashville, Tennessee at Belmont University, just 12 days before Election Day on Nov. 3. 

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The debate will air from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EDT, and will be moderated by NBC News White House correspondent and "Weekend Today" co-anchor Kristen Welker.

How to watch

Viewers can stream the match-up live at USATODAY.com with real-time facts and context from USA TODAY's team of experts showing on-screen during the debate. The debate also will be aired on most major networks and cable news channels, including Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, PBS and C-SPAN.

Viewers also can catch the debate live on YouTube from various outlets, listen or watch on NPR, or watch live with Hulu, XUMO TV, Fubo, Sling, or some other streaming services.

How will the debate work? 

The format will be the same as the first debate, with six 15-minute segments divided to focus on different issues and questions, chosen by the moderator.

The topics will be:

  • Fighting COVID-19
  • American Families
  • Race in America
  • Climate Change
  • National Security
  • Leadership

Republicans eye the final debate as perhaps Trump's last opportunity to reset a campaign in which polls show the president trailing in most major battleground states.

The drama leading up to tonight 

The final debate has already been deluged by drama before either candidate has stepped on stage.

After the first debate on Sept. 29, during which Trump repeatedly interrupted former Vice President Biden, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced it will mute each candidate's microphone for two minutes as their competitor answers questions – a move experts described as unprecedented in a general election presidential debate. 

More:Mics will be cut for portions of final presidential debate after commission adopts new rules

Welker has also been tasked with returning any time taken up by interruptions to the other candidate. 

The Trump campaign has also decried the debate topics, saying they should be focused solely on foreign policy. 

The second presidential debate, planned for Oct. 15., was axed after Trump declined to participate virtually following his COVID-19 diagnosis. Instead, Trump and Biden held dueling town halls on separate networks.

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COVID rules 

According to the CPD, "all required testing, masking, social distancing and other protocols" will be followed during Thursday's debate.

This includes audience members being forced to wear masks or being asked to leave. This is unlike the first debate, where members of the Trump family and other guests of the president walked into the debate in Cleveland, Ohio wearing masks but mostly declining to wear face masks during the debate  despite the risks posed COVID-19.

Two days later, the president and First Lady Melania Trump announced they'd tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump has claimed he does not remember whether he was tested for COVID-19 on the day of the first debate, but says he will get tested before Thursday's match-up.

More:Melania Trump has 'lingering cough' from COVID-19, cancels first campaign rally in months

Contributing: Joey Garrison, Nicholas Wu, David Jackson, Courtney Subramanian, John Fritze USA TODAY