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"Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at," says New Amsterdam creator and showrunner David Schulner

By Jen Juneau
March 26, 2020 09:41 AM
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NBC has pulled an episode of New Amsterdam about a flu pandemic amid the continuing outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Initially scheduled for an April 7 airing, the episode (titled “Our Doors Are Always Open”) is set in New York City, and “was written some time ago,” an NBC spokesperson confirms to PEOPLE.

“Being sensitive to the current climate, the producers, network and studio have decided that the episode will not air on NBC on April 7 as previously scheduled,” the spokesperson adds. “Another new episode of New Amsterdam will air on April 14 at 9 p.m. as the season finale.”

Deadline reports that four people on the New Amsterdam team (three crew members and a writer) got sick after they shot the episode. Daniel Dae Kim, who guest-starred on multiple episodes, also recently tested positive for the coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19. (Kim, 51, has since recovered.)

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NEW AMSTERDAM
Credit: Zach Dilgard/NBC
NEW AMSTERDAM
New Amsterdam
| Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

New Amsterdam creator and showrunner David Schulner wrote an essay for Deadline about the episode (originally titled “Pandemic”), saying that it shows “what happens when our hospital has to erect tents in the parking lot because every bed is taken” — a scenario that, for many medical workers in N.Y.C., is all too real at the moment.

“Sometimes, what the mirror reflects back is too horrifying to look at,” Schulner says.

He adds in his essay, “New York State now accounts for seven percent of the world’s infections. And by the time you read this, it will most likely be more. The images we put on screen, of New Yorkers fleeing parks, autopsies in makeshift labs, are hard to watch. Some would say exploitative. Some would say in bad taste. Now they won’t say anything. Because the mirror has been taken down. For better and for worse.”

“I know most, if not all of us want this episode to air. We poured our hearts and souls into it,” Schulner continues. “And it will air. Just not now. And when it does some will still say it’s exploitative. Some will still say it’s in bad taste. And some will be grateful to have their experiences reflected back to them. To show them that they were not alone. In a time when isolation was the only way to survive. That there was and is … hope.”

Coronavirus Map
U.S. coronavirus map as of Wednesday, March 25
| Credit: Martin Schwartz/PEOPLE

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NBC announced in January that it had renewed New Amsterdam for three more seasons, through 2023. The popular medical drama stars Ryan Eggold, Janet Montgomery, Freema Agyeman, Anupam Kher, Tyler Labine and Jocko Sims as the medical staff of a fictionalized version of America’s oldest public hospital in New York City.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that as of Wednesday evening, the city has more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 280 deaths.

A Times database reports that U.S. cases were at 68,508 on Thursday morning, with 990 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins, worldwide, there are 487,648 confirmed cases and 22,030 deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.