UCSF doctor says 49ers loss in Super Bowl LIV likely saved lives ahead of coronavirus pandemic

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

One University of California-San Francisco doctor is arguing that the 49ers’ loss in Super Bowl LIV might have been a good thing for his city.

Dr. Niraj Sehgal, the Chief Quality Officer and co-lead of the UCSF Covid-19 Command Center, went on a video call the school posted to it’s YouTube channel and said he thinks a victory parade in early February would have helped to spread the virus.

San Francisco was one of the first cities in America affected by COVID-19. Sehgal said that UCSF housed two of the first patents in the country that required hospitalization from coronavirus, and that put the Bay Area a few days ahead of the curve in its reaction to the pandemic.

According to this timeline put together by ABC7, the Bay Area’s first confirmed case of coronavirus came on January 31 in Santa Clara county. The 49ers lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs on February 2, the same day the U.S. implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all American travelers from China.

The Chiefs held their victory parade in Kansas City on Wednesday, February 5. The first cases of COVID-19 in Kansas City weren’t confirmed until over a month later on March 18.

“If you think of what happened that weekend, had the 49ers won and there were parades and parties at that time, that may have had impact that I haven’t seen actually described,” Sehgal said. “It’s a date that I will never forget because the Super Bowl Sunday was actually the night that we stood up formally our command center.”

Sehgal is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF who studied at University of Washington (St. Louis) and Stanford.

Pat yourselves on the backs, 49ers fans. Your period of mourning could have been a life-saving one.



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