By Kelsey Kushner

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a bold statement coming from the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“We are certainly right now in this country, out of the pandemic phase,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, first saying the U.S. is out of the pandemic, is now walking back on his comments, saying the country has now moved into a new phase.

“Namely we don’t have 900-thousand new infections a day,” he said.

Fauci says the nation has now moved into a new stage of the pandemic after more than two years of battling the coronavirus as infection rates trend lower and restrictions are lifted.

And doctors at Johns Hopkins agree.

“I do think the acute, worst part of the pandemic is behind us and we are getting to a place where covid is more of a manageable infection,” said infectious disease physician Dr. Amesh Adalja.

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Adalja said vaccines have been the most essential tool against infection, and although the virus continues to spread, the rates and hospitalizations are trending down.

But the U.S. isn’t out of the woods just yet.

“That doesn’t mean there’s still not going to be a baseline of hospitalizations and deaths, but we are going to see them at a much lower caliber,” Adalja said.

Fauci’s comments come after a new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that three out of every four children in the country have been infected, and more than half of Americans had signs of previous COVID-19 infections.

With numbers trending down, many say hope is on the horizon.

“I’m hopeful we get to that point and basically we open up and go back to our business,” said Mehran Habibi of Baltimore.

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On Tuesday, Pfizer asked the FDA to approve booster shots for children 5 to 11 years old. Less than 1/3 of that age group is fully vaccinated.

Kelsey Kushner