THE New England Patriots have used their team jet to bring more than one million N95 masks from China to the U.S.
The team plane flew to China to get the supplies on Wednesday and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker posted a picture to Twitter of the jet being loaded up.
“No days off,” he tweeted. “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.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family paid around $2 million to help buy the masks and bring them to the U.S.
Team President Robert Kraft and Baker are said to have negotiated with China on how to collect the supplies.
The order was for 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million will head back to the U.S., with the remainder following in another shipment.
The plane departed Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in China just before 4am on Wednesday, and is expected to land at Boston Logan International Airport on Thursday.
Per the Journal, the Patriots plane was only able to be on the ground for three hours — and the crew wasn’t allowed to get off the aircraft.
It took nearly three hours to load the team plane with the 1.2 million masks.
“I’ve never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome,” Robert Kraft told the 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.”
At least 300,000 of the masks will be given to New York, according to the report, which said Kraft has been moved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.
N95 masks are used in industrial settings as well as hospitals, and they filter out 95 percent of all airborne particles — including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks.
The U.S. is experiencing a massive shortage of all masks, including N95s, which medics on the front lines of the pandemic are using for days at a time with multiple patients.
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said masks for regular citizens are not necessary, despite people being urged to cover their faces when outside of their homes.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House Coronavirus Task Force is starting to seriously consider urging Americans to wear masks to stop the spread of the virus.
“The idea of getting a much more broad, community-wide use of masks outside of the health care setting is under very active discussion at the task force,” Fauci said.
“The CDC group is looking at that very carefully.”
As of Thursday morning, the U.S. reported more than 216,000 people have the coronavirus and more than 5,000 people have died from it.
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