New England Patriots Plane Flies 1.2 Million N95 Masks From China

The New England Patriots just helped their home state in a big way. According to the Wall Street Journal, the team plane flew to China to pick up 1.2 million N95 masks and brought them back to Massachusetts to help the frontline health care workers battle the coronavirus pandemic. This was made possible by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft, who is also the chairman of the board at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

"I've never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome," Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Wall Street Journal. "In today's world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us." Kraft was referring to the ordeal the state had to go through to get the masks from China. It was a weeklong saga that included a layover in Alaska and getting permission from China to land and pick up the masks.

Before the Patriots plane made the trip to China, it had to be upgraded for international travel and a waiver to avoid being quarantined in the country for 14 days. The Kraft family paid $2 million for 1.7 million masks. They could only pick up 1.2 million due to the plane not having enough room for the rest. The remaining 500,000 masks will be sent on another shipment.

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The news of the Patriots acquiring over 1 million masks comes on the heels of a former Patriots players doing his part to help the cause. Rob Gronkowski and his girlfriend, Camille Kostek, donated 10,000 medical masks to Boston Medical Center and St. Joseph's University Medical Center in New Jersey.

"I am overwhelmed today in the best and worst way possible, in a sense that the gratitude that I have gotten from healthcare professionals on the front lines is beyond," Kostek said. "Rob and I doing everything we could to figure out how to source these masks properly and get them in the hands of people that need them was not an easy task, but we navigated it to be able to get to these two hospitals specifically, immediately that I knew needed them. I knew people personally that were able to connect me with these hospitals to get them going right away."