On the first Sunday in February, as the San Francisco 49ers were in the middle of blowing a lead in the Super Bowl, a small group of doctors in the Bay Area was too busy to care about a football game. They were dealing with the region’s first cases of coronavirus.

They had no time to waste as they raced to bring the University of California San Francisco’s Covid-19 command center into operation. They worked overnight and had it running by the next morning—when two patients confirmed with the virus were transferred to UCSF’s hospital.

There could have been hundreds of thousands of fans on the streets of San Francisco at a Super Bowl parade a few days later.

Some experts who have studied the Bay Area’s containment of the virus have reached a surprising conclusion about these simultaneous events of Super Bowl Sunday: San Francisco likely won when the 49ers lost.