"Last week we felt Meredith Grey's pain as a doctor treating an early surge of covid patients. This week we begin to experience what it is for her to be a covid patient herself," showrunner Krista Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement Thursday night. "Over 1,700 healthcare workers in the U.S. have died of covid to date. Many thousands more have been infected. Healthcare workers are on the front lines of this crisis, living through a war for which they were not trained. We saw an opportunity to dramatize and illuminate their plight through the incredibly well loved and well-known character of Meredith Grey. Doctors and nurses are fighting for us and falling for us. The least we can do is wear a mask, socially distance and stay home whenever possible. Meredith has a real fight ahead of her. And ... she has that beach. Darkness and light. It’s a powerful season. Stay tuned."