New England Patriots plane carries 1.2 million medical-grade masks from China to Boston Thursday after team owner Robert Kraft allegedly paid $ 2 million to help replenish dwindling supplies of Massachusetts during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Kraft covered half the cost of the essential N95 masks, which are being transported from Shenzen, China, to Logan International Airport, where they will be transported by the National Guard to a strategic stock about 30 miles west of Boston.
Kraft, a Columbia alumni, has since agreed to donate 300,000 masks to neighboring New York, where 1,941 people have now died among 83,712 COVID-19 cases. As in Massachusetts, which has experienced more than 120 coronavirus deaths, New York healthcare workers face a desperate shortage of masks amid the deepening crisis.
Baker and other governors, like Mario Cuomo of New York, have complained that states are forced to outbid for N95 masks, as well as other medical equipment, resulting in higher prices and more supplies short.
Patriots plane carries 1.2 million medical-grade masks from China to Boston Thursday after team owner Robert Kraft is said to have paid $ 2 million to replenish dwindling Massachusetts supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Kraft covered half the cost of the much-needed N95 masks, which are flown from Shenzen, China (pictured) to Bosto Logan Airport, where they will be transported, according to a Wall Street Journal report. the National Guard towards a strategic stock in Marlboro, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Thanks “Front Line Workers” and Krafts for Masks
Patriot owner Robert Kraft and Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker agreed to donate 300,000 masks to neighboring New York, where 1,941 people died in 83,712 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday evening. And as in Massachusetts, which has experienced more than 120 deaths from coronaviruses, New York healthcare workers face a shortage of N95 masks
Originally, Kraft and its partners ordered 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million could fit on the plane, which was obviously built for passenger use and not for shipping. The remaining masks will be delivered in a second shipment, according to the Journal.
The aircraft specifications were only part of the problem, said Kraft.
“I have never seen so much paperwork in so many ways and obstacles that we have had to overcome,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft, according to the Journal. “In today’s world, those of us who are fortunate enough to make a difference have an important responsibility to do so with all the assets we have. “
The Patriots’ plane would have been limited to just three hours on the ground in Shenzen, and would have needed all that except three minutes to load the masks for the return flight.
The plane is expected to land in Boston on Thursday.
As detailed in the Journal article, the effort began a few weeks earlier when Baker and his team found the necessary N95 manufacturers in China. The problem was to ship them from Shenzen in the context of the global pandemic and subsequent shipping regulations.
There was even a chance that any potential crew could be quarantined in China, where the COVID-19 outbreak began.
“I just have to bring them here,” he reportedly told Kraft’s son Jonathan, president of the Patriots and chairman of the board of directors of Massachusetts General Hospital.
The search for N95 masks began a few weeks earlier when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (photo) and his team found the necessary manufacturers in China. The problem was to ship them from Shenzen in the midst of the global pandemic and the paperwork that followed.
It was Jonathan Kraft who suggested using one of the team’s two planes.
Robert Kraft, the United States Department of State, and Baker all followed letters to the General Council of China in New York to obtain special permits, request waivers, and explain that each member of the crew would remain on board while loading. the plane.
Friday evening, after an avionics upgrade in Wilmington, Ohio, the crew quickly rushed to obtain visas by taking passport photos at a local pharmacy and sending them back to the Chinese consulate, which opened its New York office this weekend to meet demand.
Robert Kraft’s son Jonathan (left), president of the Patriots and board member of Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested using one of the team’s planes for the masks.
Taking only mandatory rest and downtime, the crew landed in Alaska before heading to Shenzen, where there was a problem: who would load the masks on the plane?
“What we needed,” said Kraft Sports and Entertainment chief operating officer JIM Nolan, “were boots on the ground to collect the goods and get them to the right place. “
With the help of intermediaries, the group was put in touch with executives from Tencent, a Chinese technology company, agreed to send more than a dozen people to inspect and aggregate the masks. The group even spent the night keeping some of the cargo at the airport while manufacturers rushed to finish the rest.
When the order was completed, the Tencent team placed the masks at customs and on the waiting Patriots’ plane. The remaining 500,000 masks would be kept by Tencent until the second shipment can be completed.
The aircraft has since taken off on its return journey, stopping in Alaska en route.
The Kraft family’s entrepreneurial effort is similar to other recent efforts by former NBA star Stephon Marbury and current Buffalo Saber center Jack Eichel, both of whom have offered to negotiate deals for import essential medical supplies, such as N95 masks, from abroad.
The Kraft family’s entrepreneurial effort is similar to other recent efforts by former NBA star Stephon Marbury and current Buffalo Saber center Jack Eichel (photo), both of whom have offered to negotiate agreements to import medical supplies, such as N95 masks, from abroad