The pandemic will wrought huge changes in the world, much greater than the 2008 financial crisis. The fact that China has handled the pandemic far more successfully and competently than the United States, and the West more generally, will have far-reaching consequences. Without a vaccine it is clear that Western societies will fail to eliminate covid-19. The 2008 Western financial crisis led to Trump. The pandemic will change the world in ways that we don’t yet understand and cannot predict. The 2020s threaten to be a period of great turmoil, volatility and unpredictability. One thing is for sure: the pandemic will accelerate China’s rise and the US’s decline. This was an online talk given to the Understanding China Conference in Guangzhou 20-22 November 2020.