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    Review of 'How did "state of emergency" declaration in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic affect the acoustic environment in a rather quiet residential area?'

    How did "state of emergency" declaration in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic affect the acoustic environment in a rather quiet residential area?Crossref
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    How did "state of emergency" declaration in Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic affect the acoustic environment in a rather quiet residential area?

    The COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdown in many countries. Acousticians made surveys to monitor how cities became quieter under the lockdown, mainly in the central areas of cities. However, there have been few studies on changes in the acoustic environment due to the pandemic in rather quieter residential areas. It may be expected to be different from the effect in originally noisy areas. Also, the effect could be different in Japan, because the "state of emergency" declaration there was different to lockdown. Considering these circumstances, this paper reports the results of noise monitoring and makes some observations on the acoustic environment in residential areas remote from city centres, to provide an example of how the acoustic environment was affected by the "state of emergency" declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. The results showed that the reduction of noise levels was somewhat smaller than that reported in large cities. Also, comparing the results after the cancellation of the "state of emergency", the noise level increased again. However, observations of noise sources imply that a possible change in human behaviour may have also affected the acoustic environment.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      State of Emergency in Japan,Built environment,COVID-19 Pandemic ,Acoustic Environment,Residential Area,Urban studies, Noise Level,Lockdown

      Review text

      COVID19 pandemic led to a unique opportunity for acousticians to experience and measure different environments. With universities and labs closed, it was sometimes impossible to use instruments that comply with usual standards. Data gathered in this paper was collected using a smartphone and an app.

      Previous objections to the use of a phone have been replied by the author and I agree that a phone is good enough for the task. Statistical data added to this version of the paper improves the comprehensibility together with the description of the "state of emergency" in Japan and give a good idea. A lot of questions can arise to explain some results but, understandably, the paper cannot cover every aspect of the situation. Also, the length and number of measurements could have been higher. Perceived noise sources subsection (3.2.2) is particularly helpful to understand some values measured.

      The structure, writing, data presentation, and the amount and selection of references are adequate. The subject is appropriate for the journal. The paper has enough quality, interest and originality to be published.


      Response to the Review by Jose Almagro

      Dear Reviewer

      First of all, the author appreciates the reviewer’s supportive and encouraging comments. Indeed, in the COVID-19 crisis, the precision measurement tools might not be available and in that case mobile device and well-established app can be one of good alternatives. 

      In response to the reviewer’s open comment and the review, the author performed an accuracy check after the state of emergency is lifted, and the results are now  included as the appendix in the current revision. According to the results, the device and app showed quite satisfactory accuracy for the purpose of the present purpose. Therefore, the author considers that, at least for the comparison purposes, the question about the measurement accuracy can be answered.

      As the reviewer pointed out, this simple and interim case report cannot answer all possible questions, nor it is not intended, - the motivation and intention are more clearly explained in the current version. 

      Statistical analyses are added but as the state of emergency was cancelled unexpectedly earlier, it was not possible to take more data, therefore they are considered to  show rough trend.

      Regarding the perceived  noise sources, the data have been reorganised to be more descriptive according to the suggestion from the Editor.

      Finally, the author hope that the current version is more clear and readable for the reviewer.

      Once again, the author appreciates the reviewer for his feedback.


      Kind regards

      Kimihiro Sakagami (Author)

      (End of reply)

      2020-07-18 02:52 UTC

      Agree with comments

      2020-07-17 12:04 UTC

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