Background: Descriptions of clinical characteristics of patients hospitalised with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), their clinical course and short-term in- and outpatient outcomes in deprived urban populations in the United Kingdom are still relatively sparse. We describe the epidemiology, clinical course, experience of non-invasive ventilation and intensive care, mortality and short-term sequalae of patients admitted to two large District General Hospitals across a large East London NHS Trust during the first wave of the pandemic. Methods: A retrospective analysis was carried out on a cohort of 1,946 patients with a clinical or laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, including descriptive statistics and survival analysis. A more detailed analysis was undertaken of a subset of patients admitted across three Respiratory Units in the trust. Results: Increasing age, male sex and Asian ethnicity were associated with worse outcomes. Increasing severity of chest X-ray abnormalities trended with mortality. Radiological changes persisted in over 50% of cases at early follow up (6 weeks). Ongoing symptoms including hair loss, memory impairment, breathlessness, cough and fatigue were reported in 67% of survivors, with 42% of patients unable to return to work due to ongoing symptoms. Conclusions: Understanding the acute clinical features, course of illness and outcomes of COVID-19 will be vital in preparing for further peaks of the pandemic. Our initial follow up data suggest there are ongoing sequalae of COVID-19 including persistent symptoms and radiological abnormalities. Further data, including longer term follow up data, are necessary to improve our understanding of this novel pathogen and associated disease.