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Record Number Of Americans Report Being Unhappy

It’s Wednesday, February 2nd, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Record Number Of Americans Report Being Unhappy

The Topline: Amid ongoing COVID lockdowns, rising crime, and economic uncertainty, a new study shows Americans are less happy than they’ve been at any point on record. 

Christian Fischer / EyeEm via Getty Images

The Numbers

Every three years since 1972, the University of Chicago has conducted a General Social Survey, which is considered the authoritative national study on American happiness. 

For the past five decades, around 1 in 10 Americans said they’re not happy in their day-to-day lives. However, in 2021, the number skyrocketed, with 1 in 4 Americans now saying they’re unhappy. The number of Americans describing themselves as “very happy” also fell from 31% in 2018 to 19% in 2021, which is ten points lower than at any point on record. 

Every demographic and age group saw a decline in happiness. From 2018 to 2021, the number of young people saying they’re unhappy almost doubled, from 16% to 30%, while the number calling themselves very happy fell from 25% to 14%. Those are the worst numbers for any age group by a noticeable margin. People who were married were three times more likely to report feeling “very happy” than those who weren’t.

Trends

Republicans were almost twice as likely to report feeling “very happy” than Democrats, while Democrats were about 30% more likely to report feeling unhappy compared to Republicans. This gap became larger during the pandemic. 

Since COVID lockdowns began, sociologists have been warning that forced isolation would have profound and long-lasting societal impacts, and it appears they’re starting to be felt. 

Experts say the main contributing factors to unhappiness are a feeling of isolation and lack of meaningful relationships. 

Photographer: Christinne Muschi/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

2) Canadian Truckers Protest COVID Mandates

The Topline: After thousands of truckers in Canada formed a convoy in opposition to COVID-19 mandates, protesters have gathered in the capital city, bringing Ottawa to a standstill.

Quote Of The Day: “But I have also chosen to not go anywhere near protests that have expressed hateful rhetoric, violence toward fellow citizens. And a disrespect, not just of science, but of the frontline health workers…”

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

American Truckers

Reports show that truckers in the U.S. could follow the lead of their Canadian counterparts.

This is in response to a vaccine mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requiring that non-U.S. essential workers, which include truck drivers, be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those not vaccinated will not be allowed to cross land borders, such as between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico.

There are no potential dates yet, beyond the general idea to form a convoy from California to Washington, D.C.

Canadian Truckers

The protest started with a convoy of truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates in Canada in opposition to mandates, but it has intensified into the obstruction of a border crossing route between Montana and Canada.

The protests stemmed from a “Freedom Convoy” of truckers who traveled across Canada for several days, arriving in Ottawa on Saturday. On Monday, the city was packed with protesters as they rallied against COVID mandates as legislators were scheduled to return to parliament.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is under a lot of pressure and reportedly fled to a secret location after supposedly testing positive for COVID-19. He’s facing a lot of criticism for his response to the protests, especially his decision not to attend or speak with protesters, despite having attended Black Lives Matter protests in previous years. Trudeau is also being criticized for labeling the protesters as hateful and violent.

Kevin C. Cox/Staff/Getty Images

3) Tom Brady Retires

The Topline: ESPN reported on Saturday that Tom Brady would retire from football after 22 seasons, but on Tuesday, Brady made it official.

Quote Of The Day: “This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”

– Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Quarterback Tom Brady officially announced his retirement Tuesday morning in an Instagram post, thanking the Tampa Bay organization, the city, fans, and his teammates, not mentioning the New England Patriots in his statement. 

Brady finished his career with seven Super Bowl rings — the most by a player in NFL history — and as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, completions, and passing touchdowns, among other records. In 21 seasons as a starting quarterback, Brady never finished a season with a losing record, going to 10 Super Bowls. 

At 44-years-old, Brady led Tampa Bay to a 13-4 regular season and led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He has long discussed playing until the age of 50, but told NBC Sports reporter Peter King in August he’ll retire when the “time’s right.”

Controversy

On Saturday, Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington of ESPN reported that Brady was going to announce his retirement, according to sources. However, shortly after the announcement, multiple reports pushed back on the news, saying Brady had yet to make a decision. 

According to the Associated Press, Brady had not yet made the decision to retire on Saturday and called Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht to inform him. Brady’s father also told multiple outlets that his son had not decided on his future. Social media criticized Schefter for breaking the news without Brady confirming it. 

Mikhail Svetlov/Contributor/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Ukraine

The ongoing international standoff over Ukraine continued Tuesday, with Russian President Vladimir Putin accusing NATO of having “ignored” the “fundamental concerns” of Russia and violating its promise not to expand “an inch” eastward. ​​The U.S. and NATO have denied making that promise. U.S. officials said Tuesday there’s no sign Moscow will remove forces from the Ukraine border.

Moderna

The FDA announced Monday that it’s granted full approval to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The acting FDA commissioner said in a statement that FDA approval of the vaccine “may instill additional confidence in making the decision to get vaccinated.” The Moderna vaccine’s name is Spikevax.

Peter Dinklage

Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage is facing backlash from the Dwarf community. Last week, Dinklage chastised Disney for their plan to remake Snow White, saying the story is insensitive to persons with dwarfism. As a result, Disney reportedly eliminated roles in the upcoming film that were initially intended for 7 actors with dwarfism, opting instead to fill them with magical creatures. 

Denver

Starting next week, Denver residents will no longer have to wear a mask or show proof of vaccine to enter businesses. According to Colorado health officials, the measures are no longer needed as the omicron variant has “run out of fuel within [the] community.” The city of Denver has a 78% vaccination rate.

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