But he gave an uplifting message – one in keeping with the campaign's core theme – about the nation's soul that appears on Americans' reaction to the crisis.
"We see the soul of America now. Take a look at what's happening. Everywhere you look, you see people reaching out to help people," Biden said. "This is an incredible nation. The American people are generous, decent, good, fair, light, and it makes you so proud to be an American."
Here are five takeaways from Biden City Hall:
No drafts, no healthcare costs
Biden identified two clear positions to protect Americans from the economic downturn of the pandemic: A three-month freeze on rent payments; and government coverage of all coronavirus related health care costs.
"Freeze it and forgive it so you can live there," said the former vice president of rent payments.
He left room for circumstances, and at one point suggested that the freeze might not apply to them if income up to $ 75,000 is replaced by unemployment insurance. But he said, "It should be house freezing. No one should be thrown out during this period – the period."
The federal government already covers the cost of testing for coronavirus, but Biden also said the House and Senate will need to add a $ 2 trillion stimulus agreement approved this week to cover all health care costs related to the virus.
Biden supports temporary shutdowns across the country
Biden is with Bill Gates, not Donald Trump.
The former vice president said he, as president, would recommend governors temporarily lock down their states for a period to stop the spread of coronavirus, and align closer to billionaire Microsoft founder's suggestion that the country needs a long hiatus, not the president's hope for the country to reopen in mid-April.
"For now, I will," Biden said. "Here's the point. … You don't know who doesn't have it. You don't know who doesn't have the virus. So many people go around looking like they are pretty healthy and they may well have the virus and transmit it . "
The states have moved at different rates to close some or most businesses. Biden also said on Friday that he had spoken to a group of the nation's governors, including Washington's Jay Inslee, Michigan's Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf. He said he missed a call Friday afternoon from Louisiana's John Bel Edwards, and that he has also spoken to Republicans.
Beating public health against economic health is a "false choice"
Biden rejected Trump's claim that public efforts to combat the crisis could do more harm to the economy than the virus itself.
Biden described Trump's view as a "false choice" and argued that the economy could only reverse when public health was under control.
"It's a false choice to make, by saying you either open the economy, or everything goes to hell," Biden said. "You can't grow this economy until you've tackled the virus."
Trump this week repeatedly warned that the "cure" – in the form of efforts such as social distancing and home visitation orders – could "be worse than the problem" and hinted Easter as a potential date to "open up" the economy, far ahead when they Most medical experts think would be safe.
"They are one and the same," Biden said of the twin dads. "You can't handle the economic crisis until you've dealt with the health crisis."
Works from home
Joe Biden: He's just like the rest of us.
The former vice president described his days at home in Delaware, overseeing the same "stay-at-home" orders that now apply to millions of Americans. For Biden, it means conversations with the family and occasional visits from a couple of grandchildren who live nearby and walk away to say hello.
"We sit on our porch and they sit on the lawn with two chairs," Biden said. "They talk through everything that has happened on their day now that they are home from school, who is driving who is crazy."
But not all lawn chairs and terraces. Biden said he starts every day with a few briefings from campaign staff – one about the health of the crises and another about the financial situation.
The health orientation covers "how much has been done" and "the equipment we can get to people." Then come the economists, some of them who worked with him in the White House, who have discussed the stimulus package and "what the Trump administration has done, has not done."
The bite of human suffering
Biden gave an emotional response when asked about the difficulty of not being able to be with loved ones dying of coronavirus, and linked the issue to the significant loss he has faced in life.
"I've lost a couple of kids, I've lost a wife, and it's incredibly hard to go through, and it's harder to go through when you haven't had a chance to be with the person while they're dying," Biden said so. Noticing that he could be with his mother, father and son while they died, he said he couldn't do the same with his first wife.
Coronavirus victims cannot be surrounded by family as they die because the virus is particularly contagious, causing many to die alone.
Biden urged people to "seek help" and "talk to people who have been through it so … they can tell you that you can get through it."
Biden almost seemed to offer his cellphone number under the National Television City Halls, but stopped himself and instead urged Americans who have lost loved ones to get in touch with his campaign so he could talk to them.