Robert Kraft uses Patriots plane, secures 1.2 million medical masks from China for healthcare workers

Robert Kraft is taking action to aid in the fight to stem the coronavirus.

The Patriots owner concluded a weeklong odyssey Thursday when a Patriots plane touched down in the U.S. after having transported more than a million N95 protective masks from China — masks that will help aid healthcare workers in Massachusetts.

The quest for the masks started a few weeks ago, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker expressed concern not only with a shortage of the supplies, but also how to procure them for his state at a time when cargo shipments are difficult to maneuver, given the globe's dealings with the coronavirus pandemic.

MORE: There's nothing cold or shameful about staging the NFL Draft in times like these

Baker expressed that concern to Jonathan Kraft, the son of Robert Kraft; the younger Kraft is the president of the Patriots, but also the chairman of the board at Massachusetts General Hospital. He subsequently reached out to his father, who put the wheels in motion to get the masks.

Concerns over the trip included the plane's ability to fly the cargo, its preparation and whether the pilots would face quarantine in China — for up to two weeks — because of COVID-19. After several requests to the Chinese government, an upgrade to the plane's avionics and a quick stopover in Alaska, the plane landed in China early Wednesday and was loaded with 1.2 million N95 masks — the maximum that the plane would allow. Kraft paid for $2 million worth of the masks, roughly half of the total price.

"I've never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome," Kraft said, via The Wall Street 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."

Kraft also sent 300,000 masks to New York, the most afflicted state in the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.