Apr 14, 2020 - Sports

How the 49ers' Super Bowl loss may have slowed the spread of coronavirus

Kendrick Bourne of the San Francisco 49ers.
Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs' comeback Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers in February may have limited the spread of the coronavirus by preventing a championship parade in the Bay Area, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The hundreds of thousands of fans celebrating in the streets of San Francisco would have created a prime environment for a contagious virus to spread. The parades in Oakland for the Golden State Warriors' recent championships attracted crowds of between 500,000 to 1.5 million fans, according to WSJ.

The backdrop: Medical experts had only identified a few cases of the virus in the U.S. on Feb. 2 — the day of the Super Bowl — but Santa Clara County in California reported its second case that morning.

  • Neighboring San Benito County also confirmed person-to-person transmission of the virus between a man who’d recently traveled to Wuhan, China, and his wife later that day.

What they're saying: “It may go down in the annals as being a brutal sports loss, but one that may have saved lives," Bob Wachter, the chair of UCSF’s department of medicine, told WSJ.

The big picture: San Francisco is considered the model for containing the virus early in the U.S. and flattening the curve of patients admitted to emergency rooms.

  • The Bay Area has reported more than 5,300 cases and 146 deaths from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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