BALTIMORE (WJZ) — COVID-19 cases continue to pile up in Maryland and the state’s positivity rate hovers above 6%. But even as cases rise, the risk of serious illness remains low.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is a global leader in the fight against COVID, guiding public policy and saving lives.

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“We are starting to see an uptick,” noted Assistant Scientist Shaun Truelove, PhD, who researches infectious disease dynamics and modeling. “The question now is, what does that uptick mean? And what will it become in the next couple weeks and next couple months?”

Truelove said almost a dozen teams contribute to the “scenario modeling hub.” Their consensus? We will see increases in cases as new variants crop up and restrictions are lifted. But we also have substantial immunity in the population.

“Because of vaccination coverage and because of people who were infected during the omicron wave, we will likely not see a huge wave of transmission at least in the near future,” Truelove said.

Dr. Nilanjan Chatterjee said the focus shifts from community risk and societal-level mandates to individual risk and personal choices.

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“For me, it’s wearing masks whenever possible. And I would like to stay up to date with the booster shots,” Dr. Chatterjee said. “We are a lot more equipped nowadays to manage the COVID-19 related risks.”

The Biden Administration warns that the U.S. could see 100 million coronavirus infections this fall and winter, but Chatterjee says there’s too much uncertainty around long-term forecasting.

“I think I’m in the most hopeful moment of the pandemic,” Dr. Chatterjee said.

He and Truelove are cautiously optimistic about coming out of this pandemic.

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“We’re heading toward this period of potential endemic transmission, where this pathogen becomes less severe,” Truelove said.

Linh Bui