Barbara Van Woerkom | WCAI

Barbara Van Woerkom

Barbara Van Woerkom is a researcher and producer with the Investigations team. She is a master at digging up documents, finding obscure people and answering all manner of research questions. Van Woerkom has been a part of several award-winning series, including "Guilty and Charged," which focused on excessive fees in the criminal justice system that target the poor; "Lost Mothers," an examination of the maternal mortality crisis in America; and "Abused and Betrayed," which brought to light the high rate of sexual assault on people with intellectual disabilities. She also won a Peabody Award for a series on soldiers who were deliberately exposed to mustard gas by the U.S. military during World War II, locating hundreds more affected veterans than the Department of Veterans Affairs was able to find.

Van Woerkom began as a news research librarian at NPR, helping reporters, producers, and editors across all desks and divisions track down information. She got her start at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where she worked with national and international journalists based in the DC bureaus.

The Trump administration says it will now spend billions of dollars to help states make COVID-19 testing more widely available, a move meant to address months-long complaints about test shortages.

But here's the puzzle: Many labs say they have plenty of tests. So what's the disconnect?

Turns out a "test" is not a single device. COVID-19 testing involves several steps, each one requiring different supplies, and there are shortages of different supplies at different times in different places.

Banks handling the government's $349 billion loan program for small businesses made more than $10 billion in fees — even as tens of thousands of small businesses were shut out of the program, according to an analysis of financial records by NPR.

The banks took in the fees while processing loans that required less vetting than regular bank loans and had little risk for the banks, the records show. Taxpayers provided the money for the loans, which were guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.