Nicholas Papageorge, an economist, explained that he initiated the effort last year because he felt that some people weren’t taking the economic harms caused by the pandemic shutdowns seriously enough. “The conversation seemed to be about sourdough starter and catching up on Netflix,” he said. “I was deeply frustrated.” He and Robert Barbera, a former Wall Street economist now at Johns Hopkins, wrote a blog post with a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, David Dowdy, about how the two groups needed to stop talking past each other. It criticised the “facile story line” that the two groups were necessarily at odds. “Any hope of constructing an intelligent plan for the U.S. populace in the months ahead will require thoughtful collaboration, not conflict, between public health and economics professionals,” the post said.