New England Patriots’ Plane Bringing 1.2 Million N95 Masks to US From China

Thanks to Bob Kraft, 300,000 of the masks are headed to New York City

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (Kevin Winter/Getty)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (Kevin Winter/Getty)
Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / April 2, 2020 9:31 am

Thanks to the efforts of Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, more than 1.2 million N95 masks from China will be touching down soon in the United States.

Baker was able to negotiate a deal to acquire masks from China but did not have a way to pick them up or the proper permits.

In March, Kraft, Baker, the U.S. State Department and others wrote to the Chinese government to obtain permission to pick up the masks and the permits after coming up with the idea of using the Patriots’ team plane to pick them up.

“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” 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.”

The Kraft family paid $2 million, about half the cost, to acquire the masks. They are expected to return to Boston’s Logan Airport on Thursday and then be distributed in Massachusetts and other hot spots.

Kraft, who has a home in New York City and has “been moved by the leadership” of Governor Andrew Cuomo” pledged to send 300,000 of the masks to NYC after getting Baker’s blessing.

Earlier in the week, Kraft donated more than $100,000 in goods from Gillette Stadium to local food pantries and homeless shelters.

Kraft is not the only notable name to use his celebrity and wallet to help out during the pandemic.

After donating $1 million to the GoFundMe for the Frontline Responders Fund, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger personally delivered 50,000 masks to doctors on the front lines at Los Angeles hospitals.

Former Patriot Rob Gronkowski and his girlfriend Camille Kostek also donated 10,000 masks to Boston Medical Center this week.

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