New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft just won admiration from fans and the public alike after the football icon sent the team’s jet to China to pick up millions of masks to bring back to the United States.
The humanitarian mission had not been without its roadblocks, and according to TMZ, Kraft had been engaged in numerous negotiations with international “big wigs” in order to secure the mask order. Major issues included how the plane was fit to carry people, not cargo. In addition, officials worried that pilots would have to undergo a quarantine before either entering or leaving the Middle Kingdom.
But an agreement was finally reached, and one of the conditions was that the plane was only allowed to stay in Shenzhen for three hours in total. Though Kraft had originally hoped to bring 1.7 million masks home, only 1.2 million fit on the plane.
However, healthcare workers are no doubt grateful for any help as resources dwindle in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases exploding throughout the U.S.
Already, Kraft has been praised on social media for the humanitarian move. One of the most vocal was Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who tweeted his “huge thanks” to the Kraft family.
No days off. 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. pic.twitter.com/ieV6XMC5Ow
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) April 2, 2020
However, Kraft himself remained humble, and in a statement claimed that it was an “honor” to help provide necessary safety measures for those working on the front lines of the crisis.
“We knew that purchasing greatly-needed N95 masks and providing the Patriots plane to expedite their delivery to local hospitals would immediately help protect our courageous healthcare professionals,” he wrote in a statement, via The Hill.
“Multiple organizations across the public and private sectors, all of which were in lockstep with Governor Charlie Baker’s visionary leadership, worked together to execute this mission with the purpose of helping save lives,” he continued.
“I truly hope that in doing so, we can in some way inspire others to find creative ways to give more in support of our doctors, nurses and first responders. It’s nice to care for those who provide such compassionate care for us,” Kraft concluded.
After the plane lands at Boston Logan National Airport on Thursday, the Massachusetts National Guard will be tasked with taking a majority of the masks to a facility in Marlborough. However, around 300,000 will reportedly be taken to New York.
The Empire State has been particularly hard hit with COVID-19, with a sobering 2,220 deaths. With a remaining 84,046 cases, New York contains around 38 percent of all infected people in the country, and hospitals — particularly in New York City — have been overwhelmed with cases.
The situation has become so dire that the New York Police Department is considering creating a special “DOA,” i.e. “Dead on Arrival” unit to handle the “mounting number” of coronavirus fatalities, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.