April 2, 2020 | 7:33am | Updated April 2, 2020 | 7:42am
New England Patriots team plane in 2019
USA TODAY Sports
New Yorkers finally have a reason to cheer for the New England Patriots.
The team plane on Wednesday made a mercy mission to China to pick up more than a million medical masks — with at least 300,000 coming to the Big Apple’s coronavirus-stricken hospitals, according to a report.
The Boeing 767 emblazoned with the Patriots logo and “6X CHAMPIONS” landed at Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport in the early hours Wednesday and was loaded with 1.2 million N95 masks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Team owner Robert Kraft and his family put up $2 million, about half the total cost of the face masks that have been in desperately short supply since the pandemic started ravaging the US, the paper said.
“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 told the paper.
At least 300,000 of the masks will now head to the Big Apple — thanks largely to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose leadership in the crisis has apparently moved Kraft, the paper reported.
Kraft, who went to Columbia University, has always held a soft spot for New York, the paper insisted.
The order was for 1.7 million masks, but only 1.2 million were able to be loaded in the passenger jet in the three hours they were permitted to be in China. The rest will follow in a later shipment.
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 New York even opening over the weekend just to help get visas.