Thursday afternoon, the Boeing 747 will land at Logan International Airport, carrying 1.2 million N95 masks that will be delivered to health care workers in MA and NY.
The Kraft family paid around $2 million to help with the cost of the masks and originally ordered 1.7 million masks total.
Kraft also sent 300,000 masks to NY, the most afflicted state in the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kraft said he had "never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles" as they got permission for the shipment - with China's consulate in NY even opening over the weekend just to help get visas.More news: China acknowledges underreporting coronavirus cases in official count
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 remainder is set to be delivered in another shipment, the Journal reports. MA has more than 7,700 coronavirus cases and more than 120 people have died due to the virus. The flight crew needed to obtain visas for travel to China.
Baker had a valuable intermediary in all this: Jonathan Kraft, who is both the president of the Patriots and the chairman of the board at Mass.
The search for N95 masks began weeks earlier when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (pictured) and his staff tracked down the necessary manufacturers in China.
Robert Kraft, the US State Department and Baker all followed with letters to China's counsel general in NY to acquire the special permits, request waivers, and explain that every member of the crew would remain on board while the plane was loaded.More news: Coronavirus Cases To Hit 1 Million In A Few Days
Taking only mandatory rest and downtime, the crew landed in Alaska before heading to Shenzen, where one problem still remained: Who would load the masks onto the plane?
During this time, a Chinese crew mobilized by tech company Tencent collected, inspected and counted the masks.
According to Politico, the Patriots have made the plane available after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has warned that Massachusetts is in urgent need of personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and gowns and sanitizing wipes for healthcare workers as it braces for a peak the number of cases expected to hit the Commonwealth at some point between April 7th and April 17th.More news: Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin moved to July due to coronavirus