The New England Patriots plane is being used to transport 1.2 million N95 masks from Shenzhen, China to the United States.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the transfer was the result of multiple global negotiations and that of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who asked Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft for help in purchasing the masks.
The Patriots’ plane had to be upgraded for international travel and an exemption was granted to avoid a 14-day quarantine in China if the crew did not leave the plane, according to the Journal.
“I’ve never seen so much bureaucracy in so many forms and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, according to the Journal. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have an important responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available.”
The Kraft family paid $ 2 million, about half the cost, to purchase the masks, according to the newspaper. The initial order was for 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane. The rest of the masks will be delivered in another shipment, the Journal reports.
No days off. Thanks to some serious teamwork, Massachusetts is set to receive over 1 million N95 masks for our front-line workers. Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen. pic.twitter.com/ieV6XMC5Ow
– Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 2, 2020
The Massachusetts Governor greatly thanked the Kraft and several dedicated partners for making this happen in a tweet Thursday morning.
“It is an honor for our family to be part of this humanitarian mission,” said Robert Kraft in a statement. “We knew that buying much-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots aircraft to expedite delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals. Multiple organizations in the public and private sectors, all of which were in In tune with Governor Charlie Baker’s visionary leadership, they worked together to execute this mission to help save lives.
“I really hope that by doing so, we can somehow inspire others to find creative ways to give more in support of our doctors, nurses and first aid personnel. It is good to take care of those who provide such compassionate care to us.”
Of the total, 300,000 masks have been committed to the state of New York, which has the most cases of coronavirus in the country with more than 83,000. Massachusetts has more than 7,700 cases of coronavirus and more than 120 people have died from the virus.
N95 masks are medical-grade equipment that has been in short supply for healthcare workers and first responders in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Several sports stars, including former New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury and Buffalo Sabers captain Jack Eichel, have offered ways to purchase medical masks, while several sports equipment manufacturers have been dedicated to making medical equipment during the outbreak.
The Patriots’ plane, which he received allowed to land in China for just three hours, according to the Journal, is expected to arrive Thursday at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
According to Politico, the Massachusetts National Guard will then transport the masks to a strategic reserve in Marlborough, Massachusetts.