(LOS ANGELES) — Perhaps it’s no surprise, but the TV doctors on Grey’s Anatomy are going to have to tackle a very real crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’re going to address this pandemic for sure,” said Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Krista Vernoff during the “Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going” panel on Emmys.com. “There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.”

The panel, which is hosted by the Television Academy and streams in full Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern time, also featured Grey’s stars Chandra Wilson and Kevin McKidd.

Vernoff explained, “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. The doctors come in…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.”

Calling hearing the stories of both healthcare workers and COVID patients “painful,” Vernoff noted, “I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories.” 

Season 17 of Grey’s Anatomy hasn’t started shooting because of the pandemic, but Vernoff says the writers’ gears are turning: “Our conversations have been constantly about how do we keep alive humor and romance while we tell these really painful stories.”

By Stephen Iervolino
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