"STURGEON, Leitch and Calderwood are having a very good pandemic," a comms officer colleague said with admiration only on Friday.

What a difference 48 hours make. The Chief Medical Officer has been forced to resign in disgrace. If only Catherine Calderwood had followed her own advice. Instead, in an act of mindblowing hypocrisy, Dr Calderwood chose to - two weekends in a row - travel to her second home in direct contravention of the public health rules she had carefully and repeatedly set out.

Following the scoop in the Sun on Sunday, the First Minister condemned her medical officer's actions but said Catherine Calderwood would stay on in a behind the scenes role.

Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director, defended his colleague on morning television, saying Dr Calderwood behaved responsibly because, "Catherine knows the rules better than anyone."

To whom can we turn to double check these rules? Well, back to Dr Leitch, who said the following on Friday: "Don't leave the house unless for one of the following four reasons - food and care and medicines and exercise."

We have come to understand "care" to be "of elderly and vulnerable relatives" but is Dr Leitch extending this to mean "and of second homes"? The middle classes demand answers.

Can there have been any working class government staff on shift on Saturday? It would seem that "checking on her second home" would be obviously inflammatory a response but you can be sure those of us who grew up in gardenless council towers would have quashed that line pretty quickly.

There are only two reasons for Dr Calderwood's actions: either that she believes the rules don't apply to her, in which case she's grossly unsuited to a role disseminating vital public health messages; or she doesn't have faith in her own advice, in which case patients have died alone without family members, elderly grandparents are lonely at home, and weddings have been cancelled for no good reason.

From a proportion of the public the response to Dr Calderwood is one of physician heal thyself. The excuse has been made, and was made initially by the First Minister, that Dr Calderwood is vital in tackling the current coronavirus crisis. Another excuse is that she will have been working extremely hard over the past weeks and so the need for a battery recharge in the countryside is understandable.

These do not hold water. A great many frontline staff - from surgeons to nurses to delivery drivers and supermarket workers - will have been working incredibly hard yet also able to adhere to guidelines.

And it is dangerous to suggest that great skill and talent is reason enough to exempt a person from the rules.

It is worth, of course, pausing to reflect on the fact that Catherine Calderwood will be a great loss to this role. There have been misogynistic comments undermining her suitability for the role due to her being an OB/GYN. Undervaluing women's health? No change there. But Dr Calderwood's work in developing the Scottish Government’s women’s health plan was critical, as was her work in improving the care of rape survivors. In both these things she has spoken with great empathy for her patients, saying that her work as a gynaecologist was informed by her own three pregnancies and that her work shaping healthcare and forensic medical examination services was guided by listening to rape survivors.

That a woman with such empathy and insight would make such a dreadful decision is baffling. But there was no coming back from it.

The First Minister has thus far been faultless in her clear, calm and empathetic approach to public messaging. Jason Leitch has found himself a social media favourite with, again, his very clear communication.

When city dwellers moved en masse to rural areas at the beginning of the health crisis, the Scottish Government was furious in its condemnatory press briefings.

There must be one rule for everyone and that must be that. Those flouting the rules do not only risk the health of their neighbours, they risk their wellbeing. Matt Hancock has threatened to stop outdoor exercise if the rules are not stringently followed. Imagine being responsible for the house arrest of those around you.

That anyone would use the excuse that Dr Calderwood did not put anyone in harm's way because she drove in a private car with members of her own household only shows that the message is still not being properly understood and must still be clearly communicated.

The public health message must be basic and blanket. Too many people trying to make bespoke tweaks to suit their own circumstances - whether this is to have fish and chips on the beach or to visit an elderly loved one miles away - results in chaos.

Leave home only for essentials. That message comes above all else.

There are those who will say Dr Catherine Calderwood was sacrificed to the baying mob. No, the bitter irony is, she stood down in order to prioritise public health.