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Patriots' plane flying 1.2M medical masks from China to U.S.

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The New England Patriots are doing their part to help combat the coronavirus.

A Patriots team plane is being used to fly 1.2 million N95 masks from China to the U.S., according to Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal.

The aircraft was upgraded for international travel and a waiver was granted for crew members to avoid a 14-day quarantine in China if they didn't leave the plane. The masks are expected to arrive in Boston on Thursday.

The Kraft family paid $2 million - approximately half the total cost - for the mask transfer, Beaton reports, according to ESPN. The initial order was for 1.7 million masks, but the plane could only hold 1.2 million. The remainder will be delivered in a second shipment.

"It is an honor for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission," owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. "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. Multiple organizations across the public and private sectors, all of which were in lockstep with Gov. Charlie Baker's visionary leadership, worked together to execute this mission with the purpose of helping save lives.

"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."

According to Beaton, 300,000 masks will be sent to New York, which has more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other state in the country.

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