Did China make up the numbers? Did it waste precious time before getting information out to the world? Belgian writers Ng and Dirk answer these questions and opine that instead of knuckling down and fighting the pandemic together, everyone, from countries to regional blocs to international organisations, seems to have been shell-shocked into “safe-distancing” from each other. This means that the virus is not only attacking our health, economies and mental resilience, but the very international institutions that have been built up since the end of WWII. If a lot of that debilitation has to do with the China threat writ large, it is too high a price to pay. To reverse this dire trend, the world must look beyond finger-pointing and think long and hard about how it will go on once this storm passes.