Patriots' plane ferries a million masks to US from China

Ross Houston
April 2, 2020

Baker called on Jonathan Kraft, son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and the younger Kraft in turn pressed the team's plane into service.

The plane had to be upgraded for global travel and a waiver to avoid a 14-day quarantine in China was granted if the team didn't leave the aircraft.

The New England Patriots typically use their team plane to travel to road games during the season, but it is now being used for something that is much more important than sports right now.

The story of the delivery began when Mass. governor Charlie Baker reportedly struck a deal with Chinese manufacturers to procure over a million masks.

After making the necessary upgrades in Wilmington, Ohio, last Friday, the crew moved on to Alaska, only taking mandatory breaks for rest. More than 1,000 new cases were reported Wednesday, the highest spike so far, to bring the total number of coronavirus cases in MA to 7,738. "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 also agreed to pay $2 million, or about half the cost of the estimated 1.7 million masks.

The Krafts and Gov. Baker pledged to send 300,000 of the masks to New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. As of Wednesday, New York has confirmed 1,941 deaths and 83,889 total infections due to the virus, and by far the most cases per 100,000 people with 427.6.

In early March, Baker requested 795,000 masks, but only received 125,000. They initially ordered 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane. The remaining 500,000 or so masks are reportedly being guarded by Tencent until the second shipment can be made.

The Kraft family's entrepreneurial endeavor is similar to other recent efforts made by former National Basketball Association star Stephon Marbury and current Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, both of whom have offered to broker deals to import much-needed medical supplies, like N95 masks, from overseas.

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