COVID-19: How the 49ers' Super Bowl loss may have been our gain

When is a big loss also a potentially huge win? Perhaps when the San Francisco 49ers blew a 4th quarter Super Bowl lead, and in so doing, killed any hopes of a victory parade.

As the 49ers’ hopes for a Super Bowl title faded beneath the roar of Chiefs’ fans, the true Bay Area victory may have been sealed.

“I think the 49ers loss was in hindsight our gain,” said  Dr. Runjhun Misra, an internal medicine specialist.

Some researchers believe losing Super Bowl 54 in heartbreaking fashion was actually a win, since the team had a somber homecoming and not the victory parade Kansas City hosted shortly after COVID-19 was taking root in many communities.

49ers beat reporter and super fan Tracy Sandler says she and others planned to attend the roccus victory lap had the game’s outcome been different.

“I had thought about the parade, and wondered what they would be like and all of that. But, you know, it was not to be,” she said.

Doctor Niraj Sehgal of the UC San Francisco Medical Department is quoted nationally saying the unkind twist of fate likely saved thousands of lives in the Bay Area, because masses of people weren’t squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder celebrating, as they did when the San Francisco Giants won three World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

As cases of COVID-19 started multiplying exponentially, streets could have been choked with partiers, not empty due to shelter-in-place orders.

“I think the most important message I was trying to convey through that musing is just the incredibly important role physical distancing and social distancing plays as a public health intervention,” said Dr. Sehgal.

The coronavirus has killed more than 23,000 people nationally, and over 700 in California. A reporter documenting the loss of life explained to KTVU anchor Mike Mibach Tuesday morning her number-crunching supports the assertion losing was actually a win..

“Well the numbers certainly suggest that San Francisco did save some lives. That  west coast cities did dodge a bullet,” said Abigail Hauslohner of the “Wall Street Journal.”

Moving forward, experts say the days of one last blowout bash celebrating a championship are over, for now.

“I think until we have a vaccine, like governor newsom said, large gatherings are gonna be a thing of the past,” said Dr. Misra.

Some are grateful the 49ers glorious past – last winning an NFL title in 1995 -- did not repeat in the age of a global pandemic.