The San Francisco 49ers’ loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV might have been a blessing in disguise.
The Wall Street Journal published a piece Tuesday in which medical experts suggested a victory parade in California — had the Niners beat the Chiefs — could have accelerated the spread of the coronavirus.
There already had been reported cases in Santa Clara County on Feb. 2, the day of Super Bowl LIV, whereas Kansas City didn’t report its first case until March 18.
“It may go down in the annals as being a brutal sports loss, but one that may have saved lives” Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Medicine, told the Wall Street Journal.
California has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in the months since the 49ers blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bow LIV. It’s scary to think of how much worse the situation might have been had San Francisco won and hundreds of thousands of people gathered in close proximity to each other in the Bay Area.
“If one person had it and spread it to a number of people at the parade, that could’ve had an impact on the epidemic trajectory,” Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington biology professor, told the Wall Street Journal.
California issued a stay-at-home order March 19, about six and a half weeks after the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-20 behind an MVP performance from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Obviously, the loss didn’t sit well with Niners fans in the immediate aftermath, but Wachter told the Journal it “may be one of the lucky breaks that spared us from a much worse fate.”