Objective To provide population-level knowledge on individuals at high risk of severe and fatal coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in order to inform targeted protection strategies in the general population and appropriate triage of hospital contacts. Design, Setting, and Participants Nationwide population-based cohort of all 228.677 consecutive Danish individuals tested (positive or negative) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA from the identification of the first COVID-19 case on February 27th, 2020 until April 30th, 2020. Main Outcomes and Measures We examined characteristics and predictors of inpatient hospitalization versus community-management, and death versus survival, adjusted for age-, sex- and number of comorbidities. Results We identified 9,519 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive cases of whom 78% were community-managed, 22% were hospitalized (3.2% at an intensive care unit) and 5.5% had died within 30 days. Median age varied from 45 years (interquartile range (IQR) 31-57) among community-managed cases to 82 years (IQR 75-89) among those who died. Age was a strong predictor of fatal disease (odds ratio (OR) 14 for 70-79-year old, OR 26 for 80-89-year old, and OR 82 for cases older than 90 years, when compared to 50-59-year old and adjusted for sex and number of comorbidities). Similarly, the number of comorbidities was strongly associated with fatal disease (OR 5.2, for cases with ≥4 comorbidities versus no comorbidities), and 82% of fatal cases had at least 2 comorbidities. A wide range of major chronic diseases were associated with hospitalization with ORs ranging from 1.3-1.4 (e.g. stroke, ischemic heart disease) to 2.2-2.7 (e.g. heart failure, hospital-diagnosed kidney disease, chronic liver disease). Similarly, chronic diseases were associated with mortality with ORs ranging from 1.2-1.3 (e.g. ischemic heart disease, hypertension) to 2.4-2.7 (e.g. major psychiatric disorder, organ transplantation). In the absence of comorbidities, mortality was relatively low (5% or less) in persons aged up to 80 years. Conclusions and Relevance In this first nationwide population-based study, increasing age and number of comorbidities were strongly associated with hospitalization requirement and death in COVID-19. In the absence of comorbidities, the mortality was, however, lowest until the age of 80 years. These results may help in accurate identification, triage and protection of high-risk groups in general populations, i.e. when reopening societies.