‘Grey’s Anatomy’ will cover COVID-19 pandemic in upcoming Season 17

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in 'Grey's Anatomy.'. Richard Cartwright via Getty Images

Grey’s Anatomy‘s Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital will be taking on the coronavirus pandemic in the upcoming Season 17.

Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Krista Vernoff revealed the news during Tuesday’s Television Academy’s “Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going” panel.

“We’re going to address this pandemic for sure,” Vernoff said. “There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.”

Read more: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ cast posts video thanking doctors fighting coronavirus pandemic

Vernoff was joined by Grey’s Anatomy stars Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey, and Kevin McKidd, who plays Dr. Owen Hunt, on the panel.

She also shared that the show’s writers have been meeting with real-life doctors who are sharing their stories about working on the front lines during the pandemic.

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“Every year, we have doctors come and tell us their stories, and usually they’re telling their funniest or craziest stories. This year, it has felt more like therapy,” she said during the panel.

“The doctors come in and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they’re pale, and they’re talking about it as war — a war that they were not trained for.

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“And that’s been one of our big conversations about Owen, is that he’s actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t.”

Vernoff said it’s been “really painful” to hear about the doctors’ experiences and the suffering patients.

“I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories,” she added.

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Read more: TV medical dramas give masks to hospitals to help fight coronavirus

Shooting for Season 17 has not begun yet but Vernoff said the writers are already hard at work creating stories for the Grey’s Anatomy cast.

“Our conversations have been constantly about how do we keep alive humour and romance while we tell these really painful stories,” Vernoff said.

In March, the Grey’s Anatomy cast shared a video message to the real-life doctors and nurses fighting the COVID-19 pandemic to celebrate National Doctors’ Day (March 30).

“We wanted to say THANK YOU to every single health-care worker battling on the front lines of this pandemic. We are so grateful for your sacrifice,” the caption read.

The caption also announced that Barco Uniforms, the company that makes scrubs for Grey’s Anatomy, would be donating 10,000 scrubs per month to any health-care workers who need them.

“Head to their profile to get the info and tell everyone you know!” the post read.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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