"They’re talking about it as war—a war that they were not trained for."

Natasha Reda
July 21, 2020 8:24 am

Grey’s Anatomy will hopefully return for its Season 17 later this year, and it looks like Dr. Meredith Grey and the rest of the characters will face their toughest battle to date: the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While the series has not yet begun production, showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed writers have met with real-life doctors, who have shared their stories about dealing with a “war that they were not trained for.”

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

Over the years, Grey’s has become known for tackling timely subjects and social issues, and it has previously aired episodes centered around topics including immigration, same-sex marriage, and mass shootings in the U.S. (Also, who can forget that powerful and emotional hallway scene in the episode about sexual assault?)

Now, a global pandemic will be added to this list. In fact, Vernoff said that she feels Grey’s has “an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories” and that speaking with healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of the outbreak has been “really painful.”

"The doctors come in and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having,” she explained.

“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.”

Vernoff also revealed the show will most likely have Dr. Owen Hunt (played by Kevin McKidd) take the lead in the coronavirus-centered episode or episodes.

“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,” she said.

Gilles Mingasson, ABC

As of right now, Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 does not have an official return date, but the show will likely air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET when it does come back.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, HelloGiggles is committed to providing accurate and helpful coverage to our readers. As such, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.