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Patriots’ truck heads to New York for shipment of face masks

A New England Patriots tractor trailer left Gillette Stadium with a State Police escort Tuesday.Mass. State Police (custom credit)/Mass. State Police

A New England Patriots tractor trailer left Gillette Stadium with a State Police escort Tuesday, bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport to pick up additional protective masks for Massachusetts medical personnel, state officials said.

The masks are part of an order from China that Patriots owner Robert Kraft helped arrange last month to help protect doctors, nurses, and technicians treating patients amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a spokeswoman for Governor Charlie Baker. On April 2, nearly 1 million masks arrived in Boston on the Patriots’ team plane.

“A portion of the order that the Krafts helped deliver to Massachusetts arrived in New York today and will be inspected and counted by Massachusetts state officials,” Lizzy Guyton, the governor’s spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The Baker-Polito Administration is grateful for the teamwork of the Kraft Family and several partners who worked incredibly hard to get masks to the Commonwealth to be distributed to our front line workers to keep people safe.”

Guyton did not describe the latest shipment of masks, but an unknown portion of the earlier shipment consisted not of the industry-standard N95 masks but of the Chinese version, known as a KN95, which some hospitals in Boston and elsewhere have declined to use.


Properly constructed KN95 masks have at least most of the protective properties of N95 masks, but they are not certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Some medical professionals say they fear masks lacking certification could be counterfeit.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon after touring a field medical station at Joint Base Cape Cod, Baker declined to answer questions about the shipment, telling reporters they would have to wait until it arrives in Massachusetts.

“I’ll tell you about it when they get here, but as we’ve said many times before, we don’t talk about this stuff until we actually see it,” the governor said.


On Monday, Baker defended the quality of the earlier shipment. “All those masks are FDA-approved,” Baker said. “All of them were inspected.”

Massachusetts State Police posted a photo on Twitter Tuesday showing the escort, but a spokesman for the agency and a Patriots spokesman did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.