The natural history of symptomatic COVID-19 during the first wave in Catalonia

Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 3;12(1):777. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21100-y.


The natural history of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has yet to be fully described. Here, we use patient-level data from the Information System for Research in Primary Care (SIDIAP) to summarise COVID-19 outcomes in Catalonia, Spain. We included 5,586,521 individuals from the general population. Of these, 102,002 had an outpatient diagnosis of COVID-19, 16,901 were hospitalised with COVID-19, and 5273 died after either being diagnosed or hospitalised with COVID-19 between 1st March and 6th May 2020. Older age, being male, and having comorbidities were all generally associated with worse outcomes. These findings demonstrate the continued need to protect those at high risk of poor outcomes, particularly older people, from COVID-19 and provide appropriate care for those who develop symptomatic disease. While risks of hospitalisation and death were lower for younger populations, there is a need to limit their role in community transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / transmission*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult