New England Patriots team plane flying 1.2 million N95 masks from China to help ease coronavirus shortages

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(CNN) — A New England Patriots team plane loaded with 1.2 million N95 protective masks is on its way back to Boston after picking up the vital supplies in China.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted a photo of the plane being loaded with the personal protective equipment that he said would go to the state’s healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.

According to a source, Baker is extremely frustrated that the federal government outbid him on supplies that were en route to Massachusetts. He worked with New England Patriots‘ owner Robert Kraft and the Patriots to get these supplies brought over from China.

“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,” Baker said in the tweet.

Robert Kraft and Patriots president Jonathan Kraft partnered with the state to purchase 1.4 million N95 masks for Massachusetts, according to the team. Robert Kraft also purchased another 300,000 protective masks for New York state.

“It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission. 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,” Robert Kraft said in a statement provided by the Patriots.

The plane is scheduled to land at Boston’s Logan International Airport Thursday afternoon carrying 1.2 million masks. A second shipment of another half-million N95 masks is scheduled to arrive as early as next week.

“The Krafts, our partners Ambassador Huang Ping, Dr. Jason Li, Gene Hartigan and our Covid-19 Command Center personnel teamed up to get this job done and we eagerly await the plane landing at Logan Airport soon,” Baker said in a statement provided to CNN. “Our administration will keep pursuing the PPE necessary to support our brave front-line workers who are working tirelessly to save lives during this pandemic.”

As of Thursday morning, Massachusetts has 7,738 reported cases of coronavirus and 122 people have died, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all Massachusetts businesses and organizations that do not provide essential services to close their physical workplaces to help slow the spread of coronavirus. These businesses are encouraged to continue their operations remotely. The order also limits public gatherings.

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