By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

1. COVID winter is coming ...

Here are your final power lunch talking points for the week: Winter is coming. That was the frequent warning in "Game of Thrones" aptly applied today. Over the past 36 hours, we've seen Indiana Health Commissioner Kristina Box and two family members test positive for COVID, Gov. Eric Holcomb and staff test negative, the rate of infections across the broader population now 2,328 new infections reported Friday, and this morning we learn that the virus has invaded the Colts complex.

"This morning, we were informed that several individuals within our organization have tested positive for COVID-19," the Colts said in a statement. "The team is currently in the process of confirming those tests. In the meantime, the practice facility will be closed and the team will work remotely while following NFL protocols. We are in communication with the NFL and will have more information when available." ESPN was reporting that at this writing, Sunday's 1 p.m. home game with Cincinnati is still on and the Colts reported mid-day Friday that four people in the complex had tested positive Thursday, but tested negative on Friday.

The weather is turning colder, with epidemiologists like former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb warning that the microbe is now spreading into family settings, throwing Thanksgiving and Christmas plans into doubt. Winter is coming, and it looks like it will be a long, long one. If there is some good news, Pfizer said it could be ready to apply for emergency-use authorization of its vaccine by late November.

2. Holcomb defends COVID response

At Wednesday's COVID presser, Gov. Holcomb renewed the state's mask mandate, but refused to roll back from Stage 5, saying that all neighboring states are facing the same dire straights. "You look around us, other states have capacity limits of 10 people and are facing surging numbers," Holcomb said. "This has everything to do, and I'll say this for the fifth time, with our actions and inactions. It's because too many are ignoring science and are rolling the dice, as if someone is going to pay that bill for us. We can only control what we can control. In my mind, wearing a mask is a layup."

3. Democrats assail Holcomb

Gov. Holcomb's Democratic challenger, Dr. Woody Myers, accused the governor of being “frozen in the intensifying spotlight” after COVID infections spiked to 93% since Holcomb announced Stage 5. “So, we’re going to let 92 different approaches occur in 92 different counties based upon a color-coded map that changes weekly as the numbers, which are delayed, get reported," Myers said. "That makes no sense from a public health standpoint.” Myers said he would reimpose capacity limits on bars and restaurants and implement “consequences” for those not following mask and restrictions. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane added, "Indiana is in the midst of an uncontrolled and frightening spread of COVID-19. Yet, this dire situation was completely avoidable." He asked, "What is preventing the governor from putting smart restrictions and enforcement in place to save Hoosier lives? What is he afraid of? Is he truly letting a pending election sway how he responds to a public health crisis?"

4. Trump and masks

Part of Gov. Holcomb's dilemma is the mixed messaging coming from President Trump, who commands an intensely loyal following in red state Indiana. The president was pressed at his NBC town hall Thursday night on why he is opposed to masks by Savannah Guthrie: "I don't get it, because you have so much power and influence as president. You could go to your rallies and say, 'Everyone put on a mask right now.'" At a rally the night before in Florida, the Trump campaign packed a largely maskless crowd into an airport MAGA rally. Trump responded, "No, because I was OK with the masks. I was good with it, but I've heard very different stories on masks. A lot of places say different things." Trump then added (falsely) that the CDC reported "85% of people who wore masks" caught COVID-19. Last month, he said restaurant waitresses don't like wearing masks. Question: Who are Trump's Hoosier supporters going to follow: The president, or the governor? 

5. Myers money fade

Given the current circumstances, Dr. Myers should be giving Gov. Holcomb a real run for his money, but two recent polls show him trailing the governor by 40 and 30%. But that's the Democrat's elephant on the table problem; he never took his fundraising seriously, thus, he can't buy enough gross rating points to get his message to register. Holcomb out-raised Myers in 3Q $1.8 million to $464,106. While Holcomb has nearly $6.5 million cash on hand, Myers has just $80,430. The governor has out-spent Myers $3.7 million to $455,855 in the crucial home stretch third quarter, with the challenger unable to run TV ads. As the old saying goes, money is the mother's milk of politics and Myers ended up with a nearly empty bottle.

Have a great weekend, folks. It's The Atomic!