Improved understanding and management of COVID-19, a potentially life-threatening disease, could greatly reduce the threat posed by its etiologic agent, SARS-CoV-2. Toward this end, we have identified a core peripheral blood immune signature across 63 hospital-treated patients with COVID-19 who were otherwise highly heterogeneous. The signature includes discrete changes in B and myelomonocytic cell composition, profoundly altered T cell phenotypes, selective cytokine/chemokine upregulation and SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. Some signature traits identify links with other settings of immunoprotection and immunopathology; others, including basophil and plasmacytoid dendritic cell depletion, correlate strongly with disease severity; while a third set of traits, including a triad of IP-10, interleukin-10 and interleukin-6, anticipate subsequent clinical progression. Hence, contingent upon independent validation in other COVID-19 cohorts, individual traits within this signature may collectively and individually guide treatment options; offer insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis; and aid early, risk-based patient stratification that is particularly beneficial in phasic diseases such as COVID-19.