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49ers’ Super Bowl loss saved lives in San Francisco

Arik Armstead joins Chris Simms to talk about his journey to the NFL, the 2019-20 season, how he copes with the Super Bowl LIV loss, and more.

There’s a bright silver lining to San Francisco’s loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV: The outcome likely saved lives.

As explained by Andrew Beaton and Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal, the 49ers’ squandering of a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead meant no victory parade. Which meant no mass gathering of people pressed tightly together on the streets of San Francisco in early February. Which meant no spread of the coronavirus at a time when it was beginning to show up in the Bay Area among tens if not hundreds of thousands.

“It may go down in the annals as being a brutal sports loss, but one that may have saved lives,” Dr. Bob Wachter, the chairman of the UCSF department of medicine, told Beaton and Cohen.

As with Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a Super Bowl parade in San Francisco could have become the fuse for a gigantic hot spot, eventually encompassing millions.

“It would not have taken much spread in early February for the thing to have gotten way out of hand,” Wachter said. “That would’ve been enough to light the fire.”

The fire still burns throughout the nation and the rest of the world, but at the end of the day the Kansas City victory parade -- which may be the last big victory parade for months if not years -- ended up being a much better alternative, because the virus had yet to hit Missouri the way it was emerging in the Bay Area.