Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker tweeted a photo of the Patriots' plane being loaded up, thanking the Kraft family "and several dedicated partners" for their role in getting protective equipment to front-line workers.
A huge thank you to our friends @TencentGlobal! Without their vital logistical knowledge and help warehousing and protecting these critical supplies, this would NOT have been possible. pic.twitter.com/NqJyHDZ2D1— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 2, 2020
The Boeing 767, which is emblazoned with the team's logo and six Super Bowl victories, departed Shenzhen, China on Wednesday and is expected to land in Boston on Thursday, with Pats owner Robert Kraft and his family having paid a reported $2m towards acquiring the masks.
"It is an honour for our family to be a part of this humanitarian mission," Robert Kraft said in quotes published on ESPN.
"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 organisations 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.
"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."
Of the total, 300,000 masks will be sent to nearby New York state, one of the United States' worst-affected regions, where there have been over 83,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
There have been over 210,000 confirmed cases of the virus across the USA, the most of any country in the world, while over 5,000 people have died.