Grey’s Anatomy season 17 less kissing, more Covid 19 awareness

Hit medical series Grey’s Anatomy will have a lot on its plate when it returns for season 17, including Covid 19 awareness.

There were four episodes left unfilmed when the show shut down production in early March, and since then, the world has gone through and continues to go through a major medical crisis as well as a huge civil rights movement. Grey’s is a medical show that takes place in present day, so to ignore the coronavirus pandemic would be both difficult and somewhat irresponsible, as showrunner Krista Vernoff eventually realized.

“I spent the whole hiatus kicking it around, and I came into the writers room thinking that I had made the decision that we were not going to do it,” she said on THR’s TV’s Top 5 podcast, explaining that she simply felt pandemic fatigue. But a conversation with all the writers and particularly the medical experts in the room, who are referred to as “Team Medical,” totally changed her mind.

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“They really convinced me that it would be irresponsible to not. To be kind of the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to them to the medical community,” she said. “These doctors are traumatized. They are not trained or wired to hold the hands of dying people all day who are alone without their families.”

Vernoff explained that doctors who they were hearing from were really struggling with how much is still so unknown about COVID-19 and described heartbreaking situations.

“There’s a lot of story to tell that is sort of COVID-related, but not about death and despair,” Vernoff said. “It’s pervasive, because it’s pervasive. I don’t know a person who works in the medical world who isn’t affected.”

Vernoff also said it might be a little easier for Grey’s to return to production simply because all of the characters can already justify wearing medical-grade masks at all times.

On Twitter on Wednesday, Ellen Pompeo replied to a fan asking when filming would resume, revealing that “the plan is to start in a few weeks.” She said there’s no exact start date, but director Debbie Allen is already prepping. 

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