Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, has resigned after practicing social distancing for thee but not for me.
Though Calderwood advised her fellow countrymen “to help save lives, stay at home,” photos captured her and her husband walking their dog at her second home. The outrage stemmed over the fact she had traveled from her primary place of residence to her second home. In a statement announcing her resignation Sunday evening, Calderwood said she was “deeply sorry” for her actions.
“I am deeply sorry for my actions and the mistakes I have made,” she said. “The First Minister and I have had a further conversation this evening and we have agreed that the justifiable focus on my behaviour risks becoming a distraction from the hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic. Having worked so hard on the government’s response, that is the last thing I want.”
“The most important thing to me now and over the next few very difficult months is that people across Scotland know what they need to do to reduce the spread of this virus and that means they must have complete trust in those who give them advice,” she continued. “It is with a heavy heart that I resign as Chief Medical Officer.”
In a separate statement, Calderwood said that there were “reasons” for what she did while conceding her actions were unjustifiable.
“While there are reasons for what I did, they do not justify it and they were not legitimate reasons to be out of my home,” she said, as reported by the BBC. “While I and my family followed the guidance on social distancing at all times, I understand that I did not follow the advice I am giving to others, and I am truly sorry for that.
“I know how important this advice is and I do not want my mistake to distract from that,” she continued. “I have a job to do as chief medical officer to provide advice to ministers on the path of this virus and to support the medical profession as they work night and day to save lives, and having spoken with the first minister this morning I will continue to focus entirely on that job.”
As noted by Fox News, prior to the newspaper publishing photos Calderwood at her second home, police had warned her she was violating social distancing guidelines.
“The legal instructions on not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone,” Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement. “Social distancing is the key intervention to curtail the spread of coronavirus and it is essential the instructions are followed to protect each other, support key workers, take strain from the NHS, and save lives. Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some people have fled their primary residence to “self-isolate” in their vacation homes, foisting worry upon local residences who fear they may bring the virus to their town. This is especially true in the states of New York and New Jersey.
“The local infrastructure, especially the health care infrastructure, and especially in off-season, is not prepared for the influx of part-time residents,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said to people traveling to vacation homes. “There’s absolutely no excuse for a party at the beach. Please stay at your primary residences.”