Patrick Dempsey Confirms Meredith Has COVID-19 on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ & There’s a Chance She Could Die

"Grey's Anatomy"
Photo: Courtesy of ABC.

Fans want to know: Is Meredith Grey dead on Grey’s Anatomy season 17? Since the premiere of the current season of Grey’s Anatomy on November 12, fans have been worried that it’s time for Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital to call the time of death of their most beloved doctors: Dr. Meredith Grey. Here’s what we know.

Patrick Dempsey—who played Meredith’s husband, Dr. Derek Shepherd, from seasons 1 to 11 of Grey’s Anatomy—confirmed in an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show on November 18 that Meredith has COVID-19. As fans know, the season 17 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy ended on a cliffhanger after Dr. Cormac Hayes found Meredith unconscious in the parking lot of Grey Sloan. Meredith then has a dream where she’s at the beach and sees Derek, who died in a car accident in season 11.

“I was like, what a great opportunity for people and how great it would be for the fans, really, to see everybody reunited in this sort of bizarre way,” Dempsey said of why he returned to Grey’s Anatomy. “And [showrunner Krista Vernoff] came up with this concept where I would come and visit [Meredith] in her COVID dream.”

Could this be it for Meredith and Grey’s Anatomy? Fans sure think so. In an interview with Variety in October 2020, Ellen Pompeo, who’s played Meredith since season 1, confirmed that her contract on Grey’s Anatomy ends after season 17, which means this could very well be her last season on the ABC medical drama, which premiered in 2005.

“I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be,” Pompeo said at the time. “There’s your soundbite! There’s your clickbait! ABC’s on the phone!”

Pompeo went on to talk about how her experience on Grey’s Anatomy has changed in the past decade.  “I will say also to that in the beginning years, I was so exhausted, that it was really hard fight for things. And you have to pick your battles, right?” she said. “Sandra Oh was always really, really good at always taking the time to make sure she sat with the writers and sorted out her storylines. And I really admired her dedication to that piece of the work. I never had the extra bandwidth. Once in awhile, I would for sure. But not to the level that she did. She’s very impressive in that way, and the writers probably found it miserable. But to have an actor that we really cares about their storylines so much is a really admirable quality. I had so many other tasks that I was really so tired most of the time. You may not get the changes that you want — they may not agree with the notes that you have. So it’s like, “Ucch, do I really have the energy to pick a battle, and then possibly lose it?”

That said, Pompeo confirmed that she hasn’t made a decision yet on whether she will stay on Grey’s Anatomy. “I don’t take the decision lightly,” she said. “I’m very grateful for it.” “I’m just weighing out creatively what can we do.”

At this time, it’s unclear if Meredith will die from the coronavirus. If you ask us, this is a classic bait-and-switch from Grey’s Anatomy where Meredith will recover from COVID-19 and the show will either have her die from something, leave the Grey’s Anatomy regardless or have another character die from coronavirus. But at this point, all we have are theories.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC at 8 p.m.

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