Of course, we are too late. I think part of me knew this already – we still have the mass meetings after the police come into the campus. They take the anti-virals, so may have spread the virus among us.
Twenty-four people on the campus are sick now. My neighbour in the next room was coughing all of last night. I make food for her and leave it outside the door today, and she takes it, but does not answer anymore when I call. The coughing stops now – I think she is sleeping. I will know soon, if there is a return when I knock on the wall. If there is no reply, she will not be the first to die, and there will be more. I do not know her, only her name. I ask on the forum if anybody knows who she is – her friends say they SkIMp her and will speak to her family.
There is no point to send a medical student – just like outside, they can do nothing. If somebody goes to the doctor now with flu, they put them in a secure ward. There is no treatment, no cure. Mostly it is young, healthy people dying. Children and elderly people do not get the virus so quickly – it takes longer and they can recover from the illness sometimes. But the most healthy person will always die. Li explains why this is to me, about how the virus uses the immune system to attack the body. It seems crazy, to be healthy makes you in the most danger. We fear our own youth and health now, but more than this we fear that our quarantine will be broken from outside. The army patrol the street, shooting anybody who leaves their homes. They stay away from the campus so far – we think they are too busy to enforce our quarantine when we enforce it ourselves, but perhaps they will decide they need to patrol the street inside our gates, too. Then we cannot reach our stores – all our careful planning and rotas will be useless. Perhaps it would be better if we all keep a personal store in our room. Many of us did keep some personal food as well, but not everybody, and not enough for the whole quarantine.
When I finish writing this I know it will be time to find out if my neighbour is alive, and I do not dare to stop writing. This morning, as I go to fetch the food for my corridor, I meet a cat, following me all the way to the dining hall and back to the dorm building. I do not know where he comes from – maybe his owner is dead. I know the virus cannot travel through an animal, so I let him into the building. He follows me all the way to my room. I give him some rice and fish sauce and he eats a little, but mostly he wants to sleep on a human. Like me, he wants to feel a touch, comfort, company. I feel grateful that I have this, and guilty that others do not.
The girl next door to me must know that she will die, and she is alone. She makes little noise, she does not cough anymore. She does not talk. Is she so brave, to make sure she will infect nobody else? Or does she have no strength to go out of the room? If I listen, I can hear her breathing. It sounds so painful, like she breathes through water. I wish she will cough again. I cannot stand this sound. I don’t know how I didn’t hear before, it is so loud.
I cannot sleep when she sounds so bad. What will happen if I go in? I can put on my mask, and look at her, and hold her hand, then wash my hands very well. I might not catch the virus, and nobody will know.