I have become quite inured to John Balentine’s hyperbolic rants that generally echo Fox News talking points and are usually so shallow and oversimplified that they can be easily dismissed.

I was, however, stopped dead in my tracks when I read his March 25 column concerning the state of Maine’s response to the COVID pandemic (“Restore sanity, reject Mills, reopen Maine”). In particular, his incredible assertion that “There have been many tragedies in the era of coronavirus, but none of them as devastating” as the impact of Gov. Mills’ handling of the crisis on “individual freedoms” and “democratic processes.” And I was gobsmacked as he tried, in vain, to demonstrate that the cure has been worse than the disease.

Really, Mr. Balentine? Perhaps you would like to explain those propositions to the families and loved ones of the nearly 550,000 Americans, including 736 Mainers, who have died from what you euphemistically call a “rogue respiratory droplet.” I suspect that they, and most of us, believe that this tragic loss of life is significantly more devastating than anything you can conjure up about your so-called lost freedoms.

The reality is that Gov. Mills and Dr. Shah have done an admirable job addressing the pandemic which, despite your attempts to characterize as largely over, remains very much present and deadly.

Put plainly, if we were to follow your suggested path to “get back to normal life,” more people will die unnecessarily. I, for one, am incredibly grateful to Gov. Mills and Dr. Shah for their clear thinking and astute leadership through this crisis and more than willing to continue to follow the science-directed measures to minimize the spread of the disease until we have achieved herd immunity. They are, compared to more lost souls, a very small price to pay.

David Ray