The health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious. Perhaps more worrisome is what the outbreak means for global economic prospects and our ability to understand and rely upon decision-making within the Chinese government's black box.

A question that comes to mind is what is the reliability of governance under Xi. It was the hardening of authoritarian rule that created the conditions for the COVID-19 outbreak to be mismanaged so disastrously. Now it is a pandemic. Worse still, it has the potential to push many economies into recession and usher in a transnational disease epidemic into regions that are unprepared economically or materially for it.

Other questions include how widespread is the decision-making process breakdown in China? Is the health sector the tip of the iceberg in terms of the calcification of the decision-making process? Are there appropriate control mechanisms over the People's Liberation Army's maritime, land, space and cyber forces? What about the ability of Beijing to manage a "made in China" financial crisis as we saw in the 2008 financial crisis?